16th COVID-19 Death Recorded
A gentleman in his 90s became Chautauqua County’s 16th coronavirus-related death, county officials announced on Tuesday.
In total, 31 new cases were reported to the county. Seven are in the Fredonia zip code, six are in the Jamestown area, three each in Dunkirk and Bemus Point, two each in Lakewood and Brocton and one each in Sherman, Findley Lake, Frewsburg, Falconer, Silver Creek, Forestville, Panama and Celoron.
Seven continue to be hospitalized. Meanwhile, the gentleman who passed away had multiple comorbidities.
The county has recorded 1,379 cases since March.
Public Health Director Christine Schuyler informed county residents during a virtual town hall on Facebook Tuesday that she and her colleagues had submitted their preliminary plan for COVID-19 vaccine distribution to the New York State Department of Health.
“The plan includes information on vaccine storage to the implementation of what we call point of dispensing clinics,” she said, noting that counties were expected to submit their plans by 5 p.m. on Monday.
During the town hall, Schuyler was joined by County Executive PJ Wendel and members of the county’s coronavirus response team, including Dr. Robert Berke, Dr. Michael Faulk and Dr. Brian Walters.
“We are attempting to do mass vaccination in a way that has never been looked at in this country before,” Schuyler said. “There are a lot of unknowns out there and the devil will be in the details, but we have done a lot of the framework for a plan, put it together and submitted it.”
Schuyler also noted that the tentative plan does include drive-through vaccination clinics.
“We are well down the road in the planning stage for when the federal and state governments roll out the vaccine to us at the local level,” she said.
Walters, meanwhile, said he was encouraged by recent news that vaccine trials by Pfizer and Moderna have thus far proved effective.
“It’s even better than we had hoped for,” he said, but noted that vaccines do have various stipulations to ensure their longest possible shelf life.
“They do require some extremely cold temperatures to store these vaccines,” said Walters, one of the county’s medical directors. “As we look forward to having these available it could be challenging with their shelf life.”
He did also note that two doses would be necessary 28 days apart.
“Even with ramping up production to produce 20 million doses per month, it’s only enough to cover 10 million people,” added Walters. “All the people across U.S. and world, we need a large amount of vaccine to have everybody vaccinated and get everybody to the herd immunity we’ve talked about for months.”
In the meantime, both he and Berke encouraged residents to continue social distancing measures.
“It’s still going to take us time to get that vaccine delivered,” Walters said. “We need to remember to continue our distancing practices, wearing masks and that becomes so important. We’ve done such a good job of keeping our numbers down thus far and we need to do that going forward.”
“Chautauqua County has been stringent in their adherence to mask wearing for the most part and being careful, we’re running at very low positivity rates,” added Berke. “You look out west, they’re running at 60% positivity rates. They did not institute mask wearing for everybody else.”
“We need to continue no social gatherings, wear masks and be smart with it,” he added. “We’re looking at four to six months of this until the vaccine comes en masse. … Let’s hunker down for another four to six months and get over this. We’re doing a great job. We just need to keep our head down.”
In neighboring Cattaraugus County, health officials reported that there are 117 active cases of the novel coronavirus and 613 total since March. There have been 474 recoveries and 22 deaths.