Chautauqua County officials announced on Friday a one-day record high of 10 new cases of COVID-19.
The total number of cases of the virus is 70 in the county, which is an increase of 20 new cases since last Saturday, County Executive PJ Wendel said during his weekly press briefing. There are now 28 active cases.
The 10 new cases include two young adults; a female in her 20s; a male and female in their 30s; a male in his 40s; two males in their 50s; and a female in her 60s.
Despite the new one-day record of 10 cases, no county resident is currently hospitalized because of the virus.
Wendel said there is no link between the increase in new cases and the reopening of Western New York during Phase One on Tuesday. He said the incubation period for the virus is seven to 14 days, so those that tested positive recently were infected before the reopening earlier this week. He added that as Western New York reopens, there will be more cases.
“We also said as things begin to open and testing supplies increase, there will be more cases. If we all do our best to practice social distancing, we can minimize the impact,” Wendel said. “I’m confident we can work together to rise to the challenge to protect our families and our neighbors.”
Christine Schuyler, county public health director, said even though the state and country is starting to reopen, the pandemic is far from over.
“We didn’t go into lockdown for the virus to go away,” she said. “We went into quarantine to slow the spread of the virus.”
Schuyler said nine of the 10 new cases announced Friday came from direct contact with someone who had already tested positive for COVID-19.
“That is evidence of how contagious this virus is. When people gather together, people get sick,” she said. “When you are in contact with someone that has COVID-19, you are at very high-risk of contracting it yourself.”
Schuyler asked residents of the county, as Memorial Day weekend starts, if they want to be diagnosed with COVID-19. She said those who contract the virus will need to make a list of everyone they have been in close contact with and spend 14 days in quarantine and isolation.
“Please help us help you, help your loved ones and help the whole community stay healthy,” she said.
Wendel said if people don’t follow the guidelines, like practice social distancing and wearing a face mask, Western New York and Chautauqua County might slide back to being on pause instead of continuing to reopen through each of the four phases.
“Phase One is just that, it’s Phase One,” he said. “We must still err on the side of caution.”
Mark Geise, deputy county executive for economic development, said businesses looking to reopen during Phase One must visit forward.ny.gov to file necessary paperwork. He said state officials told him, so far, more than 100 businesses have filed the necessary paperwork for reopening.
Wendel said business owners who are a part of Phase Two, Three or Four should be preparing to reopen their businesses. He also said businesses that don’t know what phase they are in for reopening should start preparing.
“Be ready to open because it might come sooner than you think,” he said.
Wendel said the Western New York reopening control room is preparing for June 2 to be the date that Phase Two will begin.