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County COVID Tests Show Bump

Area COVID-19 test numbers have been increasing in recent weeks, according to information made available on the New York Forward dashboard. On most days since early October, individuals tested in Chautauqua County ranged between 1,000 and 1,600.

However, since November, there have been some interesting peaks. Most notably, they have come on Nov. 12 and Feb. 13 — the only two days COVID tests topped 3,000 at 3,147 and 3,020. On Friday, it neared that mark with 2,963 individuals tested.

The reason for the high numbers? Testing at the State University of New York at Fredonia.

“As we begin our spring semester, testing is a critical element of our comprehensive reopening plans, allowing our campuses to quickly respond as any cases arise in a targeted way,” said Chancellor Jim Malatras earlier this month. “That is why we’ve increased the frequency of testing to a weekly basis of all students, faculty, and staff on campus. And the majority of campuses are utilizing SUNY Upstate Medical’s number one ranked worldwide saliva test, which can detect traces of COVID at the earliest stages, including the new strains entering the country.”

On Nov. 12, many students at the university were tested before leaving for the extended break between the fall and spring semesters. That was the highest testing day in the county during the pandemic.

Positivity rates locally on Saturday, according to the state, were at 1.6% in the county, which is less than the state average at 3%. Hospitalizations also continue to decrease with that number at 252, down from 293 one week ago.

Chautauqua County, which does not report updated numbers on weekends, had a total of 7,391 cases through Thursday. Cattaraugus County reported six new cases on Saturday and has a total of 4,223 with 215 active. They also offer a phone number for vaccinations — or to be on a waiting list — at 701-3777.

On its website, Chautauqua County noted that COVID-19 first dose vaccine shipments for last week did not arrive. Once it does, the county will post a registration link at https://chqgov.com/public-health/covid-19-vaccination-clinics no earlier than noon Tuesday. Last week, the county reported receiving about 300 vaccines per week.

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