In her Saturday afternoon appearance on LCTV, Niagara County Legislature Chairwoman Becky Wydysh said this is no time to abandon the physical distancing measures put in place by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to stop the coronavirus from spreading.
“We have to remain vigilant. ‘New York State on PAUSE’ is still very much in effect. We still have to follow those guidelines all across New York state and here in Niagara County. Keep up your physical distancing,” she said.
“Everyone asks, ‘When will work reopen? When will I go back to work? When will the schools reopen? When will the businesses reopen? Unfortunately, at this point, as the governor said again this morning, we just can't give you that date. It is purely speculation at this point, based again on what we're seeing in the numbers, and, of course, not wanting to create a second surge in those positive tests by sending people back too soon.
“So, we can't say enough: Please, again, continue to follow those guidelines; stay at home and stay safe for your family and everyone else in the community.”
“To that end, the governor did give us some further clarification on some of the essential versus nonessential businesses; and we have now been told that golf courses, boat launches and marinas are now deemed nonessential,” Wydysh said. “Previously, the Niagara County Golf Course had been opened. We were, of course, following all of the physical distancing guidelines that we could. Tee times where by appointment only; there were no carts; ball washers were covered and not being used; there was no pulling flags, and so on.
“But at this time, to comply with that new order by the governor, the Niagara County Golf Course is now closed – at least through the end of the month, which is the date that the governor has extended ‘New York on PAUSE’ – until April 29.”
Wydysh added, “The disc golf course, frisbee golf, is closed at Burmaster (Bond Lake) Park, as well.
“Very important to follow those rules. We have those parks open, still, so that families can get out and safely get exercise and hike. But again, we encourage you – please, please – to follow the guidelines of physical distancing. If you're out on the trails hiking, and you run into people you know, please don't stop and chat. Wave ‘Hello,’ wish them well, and keep on moving – and keep yourself safely distanced.”
The Niagara County Department of Health issued the following update on positive COVID-19 cases in Niagara County.
√ 28 new positive cases (since last report on Thursday), for a total of 194 to date
(Updated numbers on isolations and recoveries were not available.)
√ 4 deaths (unchanged)
√ The Niagara County “heat map” breaks down the positive cases down by municipality.
√ 788 people tested (source: https://covid19tracker.health.ny.gov/)
Wydysh said, “We're seeing roughly about a 20% return as positive tests on those that are being done.
“Now, keep in mind, of course, with a population of about 216,000 in Niagara County, that amount of testing is still very small. However, you know that's based on the availability of tests. We've said time and again that we are just not getting as many tests out here in Western New York as we would like to have for our residents. But we are seeing a collective rise in those tests, collectively through the health department, but also private doctors’ offices and hospitals in our area.
“As we do more tests, of course we will see an uptick in the number of positive cases that are coming back – and we certainly expect that. People talk about surges and positive tests, and when we'll see those peaks and, of course, it's very hard to say when we've hit that surge until we have enough data, enough days in a row, to see that information – after the fact. We are consistently seeing double-digit rises in our positive tests day by day here in Niagara County, and, of course, still seeing more positive tests across New York state.
“But the governor told us again today that, based on the models that he's using, that they are seeing that flattening of the curve. Hospitalization rates have been down. Of course, the number of deaths is still very large across the state, but that again is to be expected as individuals who have been on long-term ventilation reach the end of their COVID fight.”