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County Surpasses 4,700 Virus Cases Over Weekend, Hospitalizations Decline

Chautauqua County, which does not update its COVID-19 numbers during the weekend, has surpassed 4,700 cases.

According to New York state and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, there are 4,708 positive COVID cases through Saturday. In addition, there have been three deaths linked to the virus by the state this weekend.

According to the state, 134 new cases of the coronavirus were reported on Friday and another 147 were reported on Saturday. In total, the county tested upwards of 1,000 individuals each day. The region, according to the state, has a 13.4% infection rate over a 7-day period.

Hospitalization numbers in Western New York continue to decline. Through Saturday, 507 were reported in hospitals, down from 548 on Monday. New York state reports 72% capacity for hospital beds and 64% capacity for the region’s intensive care unit.

Meanwhile, the state still continues to monitor the U.K strain. In a conference call on Saturday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state had detected three more cases linked to the strain, of which two were related to a jewelry store in the Saratoga region, whose owned had also tested positive last week.

“New York State is now in a footrace between how fast the infection rate rises and how fast we can administer vaccines,” Governor Cuomo said. “With more U.K. strain cases being found across the country, it is even more important that New Yorkers continue to follow the guidelines and stay New York Tough – wear a mask, avoid gatherings and social distance.”

Fredonia Mayor Douglas Essek continues to recover from COVID-19, which led to the elected official contracting double pneumonia and suffering a massive heart attack in December that placed him in the intensive care unit of UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pa.

Despite the health issues faced by the mayor, he called the experience positive due to the “marvelous experience” with health-care providers, the assistance of doctors and emergency medical technicians.

“Between the services I got, the thoughts and prayers, this really has been an amazing experience,” he said. “I’m just very lucky to be here and share this with you.”

In a Facebook post by County Executive PJ Wendel, Essek said that all in his family were infected by the virus. He said while he has struggled with COVID, others in his family were asymptomatic.

Joined by his wife, Julie, in the video, Essek urged residents to continue to follow all the proper guidelines regarding the virus. The couple also advocated for all to receive the vaccination once it becomes available.

“This is a very, very serious matter,” he said. “Please take this seriously.”

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