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12 COVID Deaths Linked To Facility

Chautauqua Nursing & Rehabilitation Center officials in Dunkirk are confirming the worst. The number of deaths related to COVID-19 at the health-care facility are increasing by the day.

Dawn Harsch, director of corporate communications for VestraCare, said 12 patients have died since the pandemic began. “The residents in our care are like family to us, and each loss is devastating to our team,” Harsch said in a statement to the OBSERVER.

Most of the deaths are attributed to the recent cluster of cases that began after the Christmas holiday. “As the world has witnessed, this virus does not discriminate,” she said. “For nearly a year, our team has worked tirelessly to control the spread of the virus and keep it out of our facility. Unfortunately, as statistics have shown, this virus is particularly dangerous to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. CNRC continues to report all COVID-related numbers to the Department of Health, as mandated.”

Through early January, more than 8,100 COVID-related deaths have been reported to the state Health Department by nursing homes and adult care centers. Chautauqua County was 55th on the list of 58 counties at that time for the highest number of deaths. In Erie County, the number was 567.

Last week, the OBSERVER and The Post-Journal were the first to report the growing number of COVID cases at the facility. At one point last week, there were 74 positive cases with 34 staff members and 40 employees affected.

“We continue to follow all directives from the Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including robust sanitation measures, to keep our residents and employees safe,” Harsch said. “(On Thursday), surveyors from the Department of Health were at Chautauqua Nursing & Rehabilitation Center for a Focused Infection Control Survey and found the facility to be deficiency free. Proper use of PPE has been taught and is enforced throughout the building.

“Our employees work hard daily to protect the health and safety of themselves, the residents and their own family members.”

VestraCare is the owner of the area care facility, which is located on Temple Road. It purchased the location, which was the Chautauqua County Home, in 2014. The sale was approved by the Chautauqua County Legislature.

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