People’s column

County needs better numbers


A recent quandary by County Executive PJ Wendell concerning the uncertainty of when the apex of cases might reach Chautauqua County is answered in his next breath: “For us, our data is somewhat limited” (April10). Even Christine Schuyler states that “we are fully aware that testing rates are very low in our county.”

It is a no-brainer to figure out that we can’t have a handle on the extent of the virus until more testing is done. Page one that day states that “117 residents remain under quarantine or isolation orders.”

How many of those 117 are exhibiting symptoms of the virus? Why aren’t all those with symptoms being tested and added to the count total? While it’s good news that some have recovered, to headline “County seeing more Recover from COVID-19” is reckless. This attitude contributes to the decrease in social distancing, an expressed concern of Ms. Schuyler. This decrease has its roots in the county’s misleading statistics. Our medical experts warn us that thousands of people unknowingly spread the virus just by talking and should be wearing masks.

The county needs to stop hoarding tests, use the tests at their disposal and give us statistics that better reflect the reality of COVID-19 in our county.



Plenty of praise for response


Compliments are due to Christine Schuyler, Director of our Department of Health and Human Services and the folks at the OBSERVER for their early leadership addressing the coronavirus.

Upon returning from a vacation in Vietnam and Cambodia in early March, I contacted my physician’s office regarding a three week persistent cough acquired in Asia. Immediately, we were contacted by Health and Human Services (several times over the phone) and visited at our home by a nurse/staff member the very next day.

Arrangements were made to meet my wife, Cynthia, and me at a special entrance at Chautauqua UPMC. We were met and immediately escorted to a special (sealed) room and examined and tested by appropriately dressed medical staff (special masks and all). We were asked to voluntarily quarantine ourselves for three days and wait for test results, which, thankfully, were negative.

Apparently, we were the first patients tested for the coronavirus in Chautauqua County.

County Health Director Christine Schuyler and the OBSERVER staff both are responsible for many feature articles, increasing early awareness, and highlighting dangers of the virus.

Our local small town paper has served our community well. Let’s not take that for granted.

Thanks for the professionalism of OBSERVER managing editor Gregory Bacon, publisher John D’Agostino, as well as Ms. Schulyer and the rest of the Department of Health and Human Services.



Some don’t have to sacrifice


I just wanted to comment on your recent view (April 13) of Gov. Andrew Cuomo taking the raises of state union employees. I am one of those workers and don’t mind helping out. The problem is, that us correctional officers are essential employees and have to go to work everyday, in unknown conditions.

At first, the state refused to stop visitors from coming into our facilities and also continued the draft buses, moving inmates from the downstate area all over the state. This was a potential to spread the virus, thus the mass amount of people at Wende Correctional Facility on mandatory quarantine.

On top of this, after they stopped all visits, they decided to give all inmates five stamps a week, free of charge, to make up for not being able to get visits.

Do the math on this and that is approximately 44,000 inmates, $2.50 per week for a total of $110,000 per week! This number is far larger than what any union employee would be seeing. On top of that, they have now decided to give each inmate free phone calls. All calls are collect calls, so I have no idea how much that will cost taxpayers.

Please check into this and let us all know the amount that this will cost. I am one that I have not been able to see the majority of my family also, but nobody is giving me anything free or extra.

All workers, business owners, retirees, etc. are giving up the style of life they are used to, but those who are living off the system have not had to miss a single thing and some have even been given much more than normal.

If we must give up what has been contractually promised to us, then the state powers that be, must not give more to those that have not earned it. I will bet that the powers that be in Albany, have not and will not give up any of their benefits.



Communities lag in response


The League of Women Voters would like to commend you for your article on the Census (April 10). The League has partnered with the Census Bureau and we get updates periodically. We publish information about the Census in our own newsletter.

As of last week, Westfield is a 60.6% in reporting to the Census. This is slightly above the 60% total for the last Census.

All of our communities need to improve. Pomfret is at 46.6%, Jamestown is at 45.4%, Dunkirk is at 40.6% and Mayville is at 39.3%. A lot is at stake and we need to promote the Census. If you haven’t done the Census online you will be receiving it by mail. We would like a 100% response.

Disaster responses are critical in today’s world and the responses by the state and federal governments are influenced by Census data.




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