Chautauqua County is seeing some of its worst COVID-19 numbers since the pandemic hit America in March.
The end of October marked a bad month for the coronavirus in Chautauqua, as 389 new cases of coronavirus hit the southern county. That spike accounts for nearly 40% of all cases to date since the first case was reported in late-March.
Around 120 of those October cases alone came from an outbreak among residents and staff of the Tanglewood Manor assisted living home in Jamestown. Christine Schuyler, the county’s public health director, said the spikes prove people can’t let their guard down.
“People really are starting to get tired of having to follow precautions, and now really is not the time for that to happen,” said Schuyler. “We need people to remain vigilant, we know that the coronavirus is here and it is spreading. It’s very important for people to continue to wear their facemasks, and wash their hands, and really truly avoid social gatherings.”
Another area of concern Schuyler said is private events like weddings and social clubs. She wants to make it clear that these are not exempt from COVID prevention guidelines.
“When you [event organizers] come in after the fact, the damage has been done, and the disease has already been enabled to spread,” Schuyler said. “We are happy to help to try and help them to try and come up with a plan to make things safe.”
Looking ahead, Schuyler believes with the colder weather pushing people indoors, the county, and the whole region could see larger coronavirus spikes.
“As it gets darker earlier now, and with the weather getting colder people will absolutely be congregating more inside,” said Schuyler. “That means, just as we’ve seen with influenza and other communicable diseases, the spread of the disease is much easier in those sorts of environments.”
Just a few days into November, Chautauqua is reporting an additional 44 new cases of COVID-19.