Fewer Virus Deaths At County Nursing Facilities

Fewer residents of nursing homes and adult care facilities appear to have died due to COVID-19 complications in Chautauqua County when compared to other counties in the state.

According to data compiled by the state Health Department and updated daily, there have been six confirmed coronavirus-related deaths at nursing homes in the county — five at Chautauqua Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Dunkirk and one at Absolut Care of Westfield. One death also was reported at The Magnolia, an adult care facility and formerly known as the Frewsburg Rest Home.

In early November, the county Health Department confirmed a resident of Tanglewood Manor — considered an assisted living facility and located in West Ellicott — died due to complications of the virus.

Only four counties in New York state have reported fewer deaths at nursing homes and adult care facilities: Cattaraugus County (three total); Clinton County (three); Franklin County (three); Lewis County (one); Otsego County (one); and Schuyler County (four). Chautauqua’s total population, 126,900, is much higher than those other counties, with Clinton at 80,485 as the next closest.

Meanwhile, Erie County has reported 573 confirmed deaths at nursing homes, nine presumed deaths at those locations, and four confirmed deaths at adult care facilities. That’s the third highest of any county in the state, only trailing the more populated Suffolk County with 886 total confirmed and presumed deaths at nursing homes and adult care facilities and Kings County with 866 total deaths.

The data collected by the state Health Department is provided by each facility.

However, unlike most states with major outbreaks, New York only counts residents who died on nursing home property and not those who were transported to hospitals and died there. The administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo has refused to divulge the number, leading to speculation the state is manipulating the figures to make it appear it is doing better than other states and to make a tragic situation less dire.

“That’s a problem, bro,” state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, a Democrat, told New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker during a legislative hearing on nursing homes in August. “It seems, sir, that in this case you are choosing to define it differently so that you can look better.”

How big a difference could it make? Since May, federal regulators have required nursing homes to submit data on coronavirus deaths each week, whether or not residents died in the facility or at a hospital.

The federal data, while several weeks behind in providing the most recent information, does show some differences. For instance, the state shows one COVID-related death at Absolut Care of Westfield, while federal data shows two deaths, likely meaning one resident died while inside the facility while another died at the hospital.

The federal data, current through Dec. 27, has not yet recorded any deaths at Chautauqua Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Officials with the Dunkirk location noted a spike in virus cases within the last couple of weeks.


On Tuesday, Chautauqua County recorded its 45th COVID-19-related death. The fatality was among the new statistics released by the county Health Department on Tuesday afternoon in addition to 126 new cases of the virus.

There are now 707 active cases in the county and, for the second straight day, hospitalizations remained at 42.

According to previously released data, the death appears to have been an individual in their 80s.

Twenty-eight new cases were reported in the city of Jamestown and 20 were reported in Dunkirk. Those municipalities now have 202 and 144 active cases respectively. Eleven new cases were also reported in Fredonia, which now has 77 active.

In Cattaraugus County, 50 new COVID cases were reported Monday evening. There were 451 active cases in addition to 2,561 recoveries, 41 hospitalizations, 61 deaths and 3,073 total confirmed cases to date.


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