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Low Supply Difficulties

Vaccine Appointments Remain Difficult To Obtain Locally

Photo by Brian Ferry

Chautauqua County continues to only get small amounts of the COVID-19 vaccine, making it difficult for residents to get appointments.

During the legislature’s Human Services Committee meeting, Christine Schuyler, public health director and commissioner of Social Services, discussed the vaccine roll out. She said that as of Tuesday, 11,457 people had received their first shot, about 10.9 % of county residents ages 16 and up. Children under 16 are not eligible for the vaccine.

The county Health Department places its weekly order on Mondays. On Friday the state places orders with the federal government, and by Sunday evening, the county is told how many vaccines it will be allocated.

Schuyler noted that they’ve been requesting 2,000 doses but only get 300 doses a week. “The vaccine just isn’t there,” she said.

Schuyler said the major storm has delayed vaccine shipments as well. She noted that the Moderna vaccine comes from Texas and that state has been virtually shut down due to the weather. Because of this, the county Health Department has not taken appointments all week, since it used up its vaccines.

Schuyler said the county Health Departments is required by law to only vaccinate individuals in the 1B essential employees group, which includes teachers and doctor office workers, among others. Hospitals vaccinate 1A employees, which are mainly hospital employees, while pharmacies are vaccinating seniors 65 and up. This makes up about 47,000 eligible county residents.

Legislator Elisabeth Rankin, R-Jamestown, asked Schuyler what advice she has for those still seeking appointments but can’t get them. “It really is a game of patience where you keep going to those websites and refreshing and refreshing to see if there are any open appointment times,” Schuyler replied.

For senior citizens who don’t use the internet, Schuyler said the Office for the Aging has been offering assistance.

She also noted that New York has put on vaccination clinics across the state for the general public, the closest of which has been at the University at Buffalo. “I am hopeful that at some point maybe we will have a state run vaccination site in the county. Until then we’ll keep doing the best we can with the vaccine that we have and what is allocated to us,” Schuyler said.

COVID HOSPITALIZATIONS CONTINUE DECLINE

The number of people with COVID-19 in Chautauqua County hospitals has dipped into the single digits.

The county Health Department reported nine hospitalizations on Thursday, a drop of four from information released a day earlier. The county also announced 34 new confirmed cases, with 19 coming from Jamestown, three in Dunkirk, one in Fredonia, and two each in Silver Creek and Sinclairville.

There were 186 cases considered active, an increase of five from Wednesday, as well as 7,368 total cases to date, 135 virus-related deaths, 542 people in quarantine and a seven-day positivity rate of 1.8%.

The Cattaraugus County Department of Health reported two new COVID-19-related deaths, involving a 68-year-old woman and 62-year-old man.

Both reportedly developed respiratory failure. “We extend our deepest condolences to their families and the entire Cattaraugus County community,” the county Health Department said in a statement.

To date, 85 residents of Cattaraugus County have died due to complications of the virus.

On Wednesday, the health department reported 28 new COVID cases. There are currently 205 active cases, 21 people with the virus in the hospital and a seven-day positivity rate of 3.9%.

There have been 4,170 total confirmed cases and 3,874 recoveries.

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