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No New Cases; Number Of Quarantined, Isolated Climbs

The total number of people in mandatory quarantine, precautionary quarantine and mandatory isolation due to the coronavirus continues to climb in Chautauqua County.

However, no new cases of the COVID-19 virus were reported Wednesday afternoon.

There remains three confirmed cases of the virus in the county: a Panama resident who recently traveled to New York City; a Dunkirk woman in her 30s who recently visited Buffalo; and a Silver Creek man, also in his 30s who visited Buffalo. None of the cases have required hospitalization, the county Department of Health announced.

Christine Schuyler, county director of health and human services, has stated numerous times she expects the number of confirmed cases continue to rise locally, especially as more tests to those suspected to have the virus are administered.

Schuyler said as of Wednesday 11 people were in mandatory quarantine (those who have tested positive for the virus or have had household contact with someone who has tested positive); 21 people were in precautionary quarantine (those who have traveled to a CDC level 3 country or have had proximal contact with someone having a confirmed case); and 52 people were in mandatory isolation (someone showing signs of the virus and have tests pending).

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.

For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in New York state climbed to 3,800, including close to 900 in intensive care, with the peak of the outbreak weeks away, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

The hospitalizations came as the state tallied more than 30,000 confirmed cases and 285 deaths, most tied to New York City.

The critical question remains whether the severe “social distancing” restrictions recently enacted by New York will help the state avoid a worst-case scenario of overwhelmed hospitals.

Cuomo at a state Capitol news briefing pointed to one possible early sign the restrictions might be working.

While the hospitalization figures are alarming, the ferocious growth has slowed over the last several days. For instance, on Sunday, hospitalizations were doubling every two days; by Tuesday they were doubling every 4.7 days, he said.

“This is a very good sign, and a positive sign,” he said. “Again, I’m not 100% sure it holds or it is accurate. But the arrows are headed in the right direction.”

New York officials are keeping a close eye on already-stressed hospitals as the number of cases is projected to rise for perhaps three more weeks. Cuomo said as many as 140,000 hospital beds may be needed in a state with 53,000. Having enough ICU beds with ventilators is a particular concern.

“The actual hospitalizations have moved at a higher rate than the projected models,” Cuomo said. “Because that higher infection rate means faster, higher capacity on the hospitals.”

Several temporary hospitals are planned in the New York City area, a Navy hospital ship is being deployed and existing hospitals are increasing capacity by at least 50%.

New York City has become such a hotspot in the pandemic that White House officials urged people who have left the city amid the outbreak to self-quarantine for 14 days after their departure.

Cuomo believes the high number of cases in the city is partly because it is a worldwide travel destination, and partly due to its density.

“That spatial closeness makes us vulnerable,” he said. “But it’s true that your greatest weakness is also your greatest strength. Our closeness is what makes us who we are.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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