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Newsmaker of the month: Another COVID surge at wrong time

FILE - In this March 2, 2021, file photo, Hollie Maloney, a pharmacy technician, loads a syringe with Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine at the Portland Expo in Portland, Maine. The Biden administration’s embattled plan to dispense COVID-19 booster shots to most Americans faced its first key hurdle Friday, Sept. 17, as a government advisory panel met to decide whether to recommend extra doses of the Pfizer vaccine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

With more events moving to indoors due to cooler temperatures, it is not surprising the spread of COVID-19 is increasing again. Americans, even those here in Chautauqua County, have become wary of any news or updates regarding the virus.

In a sense, we have become numb to this pandemic — even though the numbers have increased nationwide by 16% within the last week. Besides, normalcy has returned for the most part. Football stadiums are filled to capacity. Residents are taking part in leisurely activities and going out to eat. Christmas events are back as well, with the one today, Nov. 27, in Dunkirk and next week in Fredonia on Dec. 4.

In short, like the flu, COVID is not going away. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control gave its blessing to booster shots, which is one more way to prevent the spread and reduce the effects of the illness.

Here at home, we know health-care providers are again feeling a major stress as the census numbers at the county hospitals continue to rise. In fairness, not all those needing beds have the virus but there also is a good number who are there because of it.

Despite Western New York having the highest postivity rate in the state, our top county official believes there is no need for any further mandates. “I don’t see us doing that (requiring masks), but that’s not to say we’re not considering it,” County Executive PJ Wendel said during a telephone interview.

But take note: our neighbor to the north in Erie County has again placed a facial covering requirement on all indoor public settings as hospital capacity is becoming a real concern there during the peak of the holiday season. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said the situation will be evaluated again to see if further action needs to be taken.

As holiday spirits continue to rise, COVID’s dastardly toll is again upon us.

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