The Cattaraugus County Health Department on Sunday reported one new death of a county resident due to COVID-19, while the county recorded a total of 12 new cases over the weekend.
Dr. Kevin D. Watkins, public health director for the county’s health department, said the 22nd resident to succumb to COVID-19 was an 82-year-old woman “who developed respiratory failure and was unable to overcome her illness despite aggressive medical treatment. We extend our deepest condolences to her family and the entire Cattaraugus County community.”
Three new cases of COVID-19 were reported Sunday — one male who lives in the southeast part of the county, and two females, one a resident of the northeast part of the county and the other a resident of the northwest.
The cases pushed the county’s total since the pandemic began to 613. The health department’s active positive caseload was 117 as 474 residents have recovered from the virus.
Cattaraugus County’s testing rate was 1.3% on Saturday, according to data collected by the state Department of Health. The county’s seven-day rolling average for positive tests was 2.5%.
On Saturday, the county reported nine new cases of COVID-19. The new positives for the virus were five females and four males. Seven of the residents — four females and three males — live in the southeast quadrant of the county. One woman works in a health care facility and all but one of the southeast residents reported to the health department direct contact with people positive for the virus.
One male lives in the northeast part of the county while one female lives in the southwest — they both also had direct contact with other residents with COVID-19.
In an effort to determine the prevalence of the virus in the county, any resident interested in getting a swab test can register for a test or call 938-9119 or 938-2265.
Elsewhere in Western New York, most of Erie County remained in the state’s yellow-zone designation, with a positive test rate of more than 6% for Saturday and more than 8% for Friday.
The state reported a total of 30 deaths due to COVID-19 on Saturday, pushing the total to 26,133. There were 1,845 hospitalizations, up 57 from Friday, with 266 patients newly admitted.
“What we’re seeing now as COVID rages across the country and world is what scientists told us time and time again would happen as the colder months arrived,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “But we learned from what we went through in New York and we’ve been a step ahead ever since. These next few weeks will be challenging as the holidays arrive. We all want to be with our loved ones, especially after this hard year, but we must remain vigilant.”
The governor said “we all have COVID fatigue, but we simply don’t have the luxury of letting our guard down — COVID isn’t tired.”
He urged wearing our masks, staying socially distant and adhering to gathering limits.
Cuomo also said Sunday that New York, along with six other states, will review the COVID-19 vaccine before it’s distributed to ensure safety.
“New York, and other states, seven in total, will simultaneously review the vaccine approval with independent medical experts so people know it’s safe,” there governor said.
The governor said that while it’s great news a vaccine is on the way, many Americans may not get it because they don’t trust the government.
“Polls say 50% of American people say they will not take the vaccine if it were available today because they don’t trust the way this federal government has politicized the process,” he said.
He added that many undocumented people don’t trust the federal government and believe they may use the vaccine process to identify them for deportation.
“New York must make sure that doesn’t happen,” Cuomo said. “We must restore trust in government because a vaccine will only work if people trust the government enough to take it and that has to be our mission here in the state of New York.”
He said it’s a “massive operation” to vaccinate 330 million Americans.