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COVID Claims 8 Lives In Chaut., Catt. Counties

While much of the nation has been focused on the armed protesters that broke into the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, the coronavirus continued its deadly ways.

Another fatality from COVID-19 was reported by the Chautauqua County Health Department and seven more were reported in Cattaraugus County.

In Chautauqua County, this makes 12 deaths in the last nine days, bringing the total to 40. The newest death, according to local data, appears to be an individual in their 80s.

Of the seven deaths reported by the Cattaraugus County Health Department, three were females and four were males. The ages of the females were 82, 87 and 93. The ages of the males were 65, 77, 81 and 86. The health department said all seven developed respiratory failure and were unable to overcome their illness despite aggressive medical treatment.

Cattaraugus County has now reported 60 deaths since the pandemic began. “We extend our deepest condolences to their family and the entire Cattaraugus County community,” the department stated in a news release.

Chautauqua County also announced 61 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday – the lowest single-day caseload since Dec. 22.

There are 20 new cases in Dunkirk, bringing that zip code’s active case total up to 131. The county also reported six new cases in the Jamestown zip code, with 181 active cases as of Wednesday. Fredonia also has eight new cases. The village now has 74 active cases.

Hospitalizations decreased for the second straight day to 43, a six-person increase from the day prior.

Cattaraugus County, meanwhile, reported 77 new cases Thursday and has 38 people hospitalized.

During his daily briefing, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that 430,000 vaccines have been administered in New York state thus far. “We have seen a dramatic increase (in vaccination speed). I think they heard me when I said I wanted it in the arm by Friday,” he said.

According to Cuomo, SUNY Upstate Hospital has used 100% of its vaccine, Kaleida in Buffalo used 98%, while Olean General Hospital has only used 28%, one of the lower performers statewide. He has threatened to take away a hospital’s vaccine if it doesn’t get distributed within seven days.

In a phone interview earlier this week, Christine Schuyler, county public health director and commissioner of Social Services, said they have received unused vaccine from both Brooks-TLC and UPMC with the state’s blessing.

Chautauqua County is offering the COVID vaccine to the following individuals:

¯ All Outpatient/Ambulatory front-line, high-risk health care workers of any age who provide direct in-person patient care, or other staff in a position in which they have direct contact with patients (i.e., intake staff), will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine. This includes, but is not limited to, individuals who work in private medical practices; hospital-affiliated medical practices; public health clinics; specialty medical practices of all types; dental practices of all types; dialysis workers; diagnostic and treatment centers; occupational therapists; physical therapists; speech therapists; phlebotomists; behavioral health workers; and student health workers.

¯ All front-line, high-risk public health workers who have direct contact with patients, including those conducting COVID-19 tests, those handling COVID-19 lab specimens and COVID-19 vaccinations.

¯ Home care workers and aides, hospice workers, personal care aides, and consumer-directed personal care workers.

¯≥ Staff and residents of nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and adult care facilities.

In order to receive a vaccine, individuals must register on the county Department of Health’s website. Currently there are no clinics with any openings, but those who meet the criteria are advised to check on the county’s website for future vaccination clinics.

SCHOOLS GO REMOTE

A member of the transportation department in the Bemus Point Central School District tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the district to place all transportation staff in quarantine and forcing learning to go full remote beginning Friday.

Joseph Reyda, Bemus Point superintendent, said remote instruction will last through Monday, Jan. 18.

“Since we are now unable to provide any transportation for students, we are going to have to pivot to a full remote instructional schedule starting (today) and lasting until Monday, Jan. 18, for students in the district,” he said.

The Southwestern Central School District will also go to full remote instruction today after several positive cases of the virus were identified in the past two days.

Cameron Hurst contributed to this report.

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