Cattaraugus County recorded its 51st positive COVID-19 resident — a man from the southwest part of the county who tested positive when he was admitted at WCA Hospital in Jamestown on Sunday.
Dr. Kevin Watkins, Cattaraugus County public health director, said the man, who has underlying health conditions, had a shortness of breath and whole body aches when brought to the Jamestown hospital on Sunday.
He was transferred to Pittsburgh Presbyterian Hospital with low blood oxygen and on a ventilator Monday morning.
Watkins said four county residents are now hospitalized. The other three are in Olean General Hospital, two of them on a ventilator.
He said his department is following 13 residents who tested positive for COVID-19. Thirty-four residents have recovered and 58 are in quarantine. Of 2,312 coronavirus tests in the county, 1,947 have been negative.
As county officials have mentioned before, the number of COVID-19 infections they list (51) differs from numbers compiled by New York state, which listed 64. County officials have explained that the state’s numbers include former Cattaraugus County residents whose official addresses have not been changed.
Watkins said county officials “were working feverishly to reach the last metric” needed for Phase 1 reopening. At the same time, he has concerns about the reopening.
“It depends on how our residents do once they start to come outside,” he said. “If they will continue to maintain social distancing, I think we’ll do just fine. If they insist on large social gatherings, we could see it spread through the community.”
Watkins agreed Cattaraugus County, as well as the largely rural Allegany and Chautauqua counties, had “dodged a bullet” in the first wave of coronavirus largely from hunkering down, social distancing and wearing masks.
“This virus has not gone away,” Watkins said. “They are still showing elevated numbers in the state, although they are not as high as they were. It’s only because of what we have done as a community. We have helped flatten the curve.”
Watkins said the beginning of the Phase 1 reopening of manufacturing and construction businesses “is really a big step for us. It was easy to shut down. It seems like it’s harder to reopen. We will continue to be watchful and watch various metrics. We have to do it as a region. As a region, we can make it happen.”