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11 Recovered From Virus, 1 New Case Confirmed

MAYVILLE — Eleven residents in Chautauqua County have fully recovered from the coronavirus.

County Executive PJ Wendel made the announcement during a press conference Thursday in Mayville. He also noted one additional confirmed case of COVID-19 locally, bringing the total to 22.

To date, 117 county residents remain under quarantine or isolation orders, while 256 tests for the coronavirus have come back negative.

Christine Schuyler, director of the county Health and Human Services department, reminded the public to practice social distancing, especially with Easter approaching.

“Given that this is coming upon Easter weekend, I know this is a very difficult time for many people who are used to being able to catch up with extended family and friends,” Schuyler said. “It’s very difficult at this time to not be able to do that. And believe me I share your pain.”

The public health director, during Thursday’s press conference, also asked anyone returning from a winter home or from a place that has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“That just really means stay home,” she said, noting the need to limit errands and trips to the store.

Schuyler alluded to orders by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that added golf courses to the list of non-essential businesses that must close, as well as limiting access to boat launches and marinas for recreational use until at least April 29. “That is a change for regular business in New York,” she said. “Golf courses had been able to be open, but as of now they are not able to be open anymore. And that will be enforced.”

Despite compliance among many local residence to limit trips to the store and to practice social distancing, not all appear to be heeding the orders.

“We have been getting a lot of reports of people continuing to gather, people making multiple trips a day to the grocery store or to the local convenience store,” Schuyler said. “We really need to continue to stress that that is not OK.”

To assist local authorities, Cuomo recently established the New York State PAUSE Enforcement Assistance Task Force where individuals can file complaints regarding the operation of non-essential businesses or gatherings. Complaints can be made 24 hours a day, sever days a week by calling 1-833-789-0470 or by completing the online complaint intake form available at mylicense.custhelp.com/app/ask.

Once a complaint is made, the task force will review it for completeness, accuracy and applicability under the governor’s executive orders.

“It is important that if residents have a complaint about the operation of non-essential businesses or social gatherings that they do not call local police departments or our Sheriff’s Office to respond,” Wendel said. “The complaint needs to go through the governor’s task force and if the task force believes a complaint is warranted, it will be referred to our local police departments or Sheriff’s Office for further investigation and enforcement.”

Meanwhile, Schuyler said she has been asked frequently about testing for the virus within the county.

“Yes, we are fully aware that testing rates are very low in our county,” she said, though pointing out that county Health Department officials were notified of an increase in testing supplies incoming this week. She said anyone hospitalized with symptoms of the virus, any nursing home residents with symptoms and health care workers with symptoms are given priority for a test.

Signs of COVID-19 include fever, cough and traditional flu-like symptoms such as diarrhea and fatigue.

When it comes to social distancing, Schuyler said she believes it is helping to “flatten the curve as we were hoping it would. I could be wrong on that and we could have a wave come our way. I hope not, but we do need to test more to find out and see what’s happening out there.”

Wendel added that it is difficult to say when an “apex” of cases might reach Chautauqua County. “For us, our data is somewhat limited,” he said. “It’s hard to tell. Everybody across the board would like to say we really could predict this but I don’t think there are any real indicators.”

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