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COVID-Positive Patients In The Hospital Tick Up Locally

SILVER CREEK — For the first time in 17 months, St. Columban’s on the Lake near Silver Creek has been touched by the COVID-19 virus.

The Chautauqua County Department of Health on Monday noted 15 new cases in Silver Creek. Though not all are tied to the home, it is enough to suspend visiation. On its website, the home notes: “Due to recent positive COVID-19 test results at St. Columban’s on the Lake, we will be temporarily closed for visitation until further notice. Please keep our family of residents and staff in your prayers.”

Administrator Sister Corona Colleary confirmed the recent positive cases, noting that these were the first during the pandemic. “We are sad … over these recent incidents,” she said.

Additionally, the county reported a new COVID-related fatality, the 167th death to date. There were 170 new confirmed cases of the virus recorded Friday through Sunday. The majority (62) came from residents living within the Jamestown zip code while 22 were noted in Fredonia, 10 in Dunkirk and 15 in Silver Creek.

UPMC said it’s treating 437 patients in its hospital system who have tested positive for COVID-19. Of those inpatients, 76 are at a half dozen UPMC facilities located in New York and northwestern Pennsylvania, though how many are at UPMC Chautauqua in Jamestown specifically wasn’t provided.

“Because of our extensive planning and preparation, UPMC facilities are safe, and staff are well-equipped and know how to properly care for patients with COVID-19,” a UPMC spokeswoman said in a statement to The Post-Journal when asked late last week of the spike in hospitalizations in Chautauqua County. As of Monday, there were 27 people in local hospitals who have tested positive for the virus — more than double from about a week ago.

“Each patient need is unique,” the spokeswoman added, “some COVID-19 positive inpatients require intensive care, with or without ventilator support, and some patients are being cared for on non-ICU medical units.”

There are currently 170 active cases and 773 in quarantine as well as a seven-day positivity rate of 11.2%. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention level of community transmission remains “high” locally.

There have been 10,757 confirmed cases of the virus in Chautauqua County to date along with 10,209 recoveries.

UPMC was asked last week regarding emergency room wait times as the local hospitalization rate has gone up amid the Delta variant of the virus spreading — largely among unvaccinated residents.

“Our goal is to treat every patient as quickly as possible,” the spokeswoman said. “In our emergency departments, patients are triaged as they arrive, meaning those who have the greatest emergency are treated first. This can be understandably frustrating for patients who have long wait times.”

UPMC said patients who are experiencing a medical emergency should seek emergency care at the closest ER or call 911. “Hospitals and emergency departments throughout the country are treating a wave of COVID-19 patients, many of whom are unvaccinated against the disease,” the Pittsburgh-based health care organization said. “This has placed an incredible burden on our extremely dedicated health care professionals, and they continue to perform at extraordinary levels to help our communities.

“We urge everyone eligible for a vaccine to make the choice to get one. Vaccination saves lives — it protects you, your loved ones, and our communities.”

Since Aug. 1, there have been 1,413 cases reported in Chautauqua County — with 54% coming from people not vaccinated, 16% who were fully vaccinated, 7% partially vaccinated and 22% whose vaccination status was not known.

UPCOMING VACCINATION CLINICS

The county Health Department has announced COVID-19 vaccination clinics that will be held through October. The Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson&Johnson vaccines will be available at all clinics, as long as supplies last. Vaccines will be provided at no cost to participants, who need to bring proper identification to the clinic and wear a mask.

At the Chautauqua Lake Central School bus garage, 100 N. Erie St., Mayville, drive through clinics will be held from 4:30-6:30 p.m. the following Tuesdays: today, Sept. 21, Sept. 28, Oct. 5, Oct. 12, Oct. 19, Oct. 26.

At Steele Hall at the State University of New York at Fredonia, 280 Central Ave., a clinic will be held from 12:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

No appointments are needed, but pre-registration is available.

The health department also requests that people attending drive-through clinics not bring pets or other animals with them as it poses a safety risk to staff, “and makes it difficult to vaccinate the participant safely.”

Editor John D’Agostino contributed to this article.

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