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‘Have To Be Diligent’

County Monitoring Outbreak At Tanglewood Facilities

P-J photo by Cameron Hurst

MAYVILLE — Chautauqua County officials announced Monday that they are monitoring a COVID-19 outbreak at a Jamestown adult care facility.

During an afternoon press conference, Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel announced that 47 of the county’s 53 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 are related to infections at Tanglewood Manor and Memory Garden on Fairmount Avenue dating back to Friday.

“This serves as a reminder that we must still continue to practice these measures of preventing the disease spread and mitigation of that spread,” Wendel said. “We need everyone to remember that this is continuing and is here in this community.”

“This is a stark reminder that COVID-19 is still circulating in this community,” Public Health Director Christine Schuyler said. “We have to be diligent and do the best we can to prevent the spread of this disease.”

Schuyler said that four residents from those facilities, which operate under the Tanglewood Group umbrella, came back positive on Saturday with an additional six on Sunday, prompting the testing of all residents in the facilities. Two of the 47 related cases are staff members.

“There were about four on Friday as well,” Schuyler said. “We knew something was going on there and we had a staff member test positive as well.”

Schuyler said the New York State Health Department monitors and licenses long-term care facilities like Tanglewood Manor and Memory Garden.

“The Western Region Office has worked closely with Tanglewood Manor and Memory Garden on their infection control practices as well as taking care of any patients or staff who are testing positive for COVID-19,” she said. “The facilities are in the process of setting up separate COVID units and are ensuring that the proper precautionary measures are being taken.”

Ten residents have been hospitalized — eight from Tanglewood Manor and two from Memory Garden — with mild or moderate symptoms. Wendel said they are not in critical condition.

“I spoke with the director of nursing at UPMC Chautauqua and the health care system is operating and functioning effectively,” Wendel said. “This new caseload has not stressed or taxed the healthcare system here in Chautauqua County. … They are not on ventilators and they are not in the ICU. They are on the COVID floors. It’s business as usual as they are monitoring those patients.”

He added, “We want people to be rest assured that even though this is our most vulnerable population, those who are hospitalized are not in critical condition.”

As of 2 p.m. Monday, administrators and staff were in the process of alerting the families of residents who have tested positive for the coronavirus. A phone call to the Tanglewood Group was not returned as of Monday evening.

“They were still calling and trying to reach family members of everyone who had tested positive,” Schuyler said. “They wanted to get that done before they came out with anything else. They knew that we were going to alert the community while still working on their end to make sure that all of their families were made aware.”

Schuyler noted that the outbreak could grow, but feels confident in the measures that were taken in a timely manner.

“I think there’s always a concern and that’s why the measures now are being taken to make sure that anyone who has tested positive is separated from other residents during this infectious period,” she said. “It’s not forever. During the infectious period, you want residents cohorts in separate areas to make sure that no one is intermingling that has not been exposed to the virus.”

“By acting quickly as we are now, hopefully, we can put a lid on this one,” she added.

The County Health Department, in conjunction with the Chautauqua County Office of Emergency Services and the New York State Department of Health, is continuing its COVID-19 drive-through testing clinics. The testing clinics will be held in the east parking lot off of Peacock Street behind the Hall R. Clothier Building at the County’s Mayville campus from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 13-15; Oct. 20-22; and Oct. 27-29.

COVID-19 testing is available to anybody who wants to be tested. Testing is free. Appointments are required; walk-in testing is not available. Appointments can be made by calling 1-866-604-6789 during business hours, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

At the clinic, people who are signed up to get the test will have their information verified, be swabbed, and then may leave. Health Department staff will run the tests, and contact patients with their results and appropriate education within two hours. Symptomatic individuals should plan to isolate until results are received.

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