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Allegany Hope: 100th Covid Death in Allegany County

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From Casey Jones, Editor of Allegany Hope Community News, 10/28/21

BREAKING – EXCLUSIVE: Allegany County has reached 100 COVID deaths, the second in two days and seventh so far this month, the deadliest period since December for the pandemic locally.

School student cases also have jumped this week, with 14 children under 10 contracting the virus and 22 in the 10-to-19 age group, with an outbreak Belfast Central School in which children are said to have been coming to school with the disease, along with lesser jumps at Friendship Central School and Cuba-Rushford Central School.

General cases actually declined from 171 new positives two weeks ago to 120 last week, but already are at 95 during the past four days, with 71 recorded as of noon today and yesterday.

The county’s positivity rate of tests-to-positives also has jumped by a point-and-a-half in a week to the third highest in the state, behind Cattaraugus which is at the top, followed by Lewis County.

We still are working tonight to correlate all the new information from various state and federal databases and results from our Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) responses from Allegany County, NY government.

The State Health Department reported the latest death today, as of last midnight, as being a non-nursing home-related fatality occurring within the county. The Allegany County Department of Health confirmed the death this afternoon to Allegany Hope through our FOIL request, but hasn’t yet issued a press release which generally provides the age and gender of the individual.

Deaths now exceed those of six experienced in January, with 17 recorded in December of last year as monthly deaths were declining following a fall wave which peaked with 39 in November.

The county now has the 15th highest COVID death rate per capita in New York State and is seventh from the top among the 40 Upstate New York counties north of Orange and Dutchess. It is higher than four Downstate counties, including Manhattan in New York City.

At Belfast, the state schools Report Card of coronavirus activity shows 13 student and six non-teaching staff infections in the past 10 days, with eight student and one staff positive on Monday, followed by another student and two staff yesterday. There were four student and one staff cases last week.

We queried School Superintendent Wendy Butler this afternoon in regard to the situation at the district and she said she was working on an overview of the “huge change in COVID cases in Belfast” which has resulted in two grade levels working virtually with teachers because of student quarantines.

She later emailed Allegany Hopea statement which also appears on the district’s Facebook page, saying that the “increase in quarantined students originated with students coming to/being sent to school knowingly sick with COVID symptoms and then testing positive two-four days later.”

A frequent response from families, she said, is that a child has “just a runny nose,” when the majority of students and staff testing positive for COVID have reported a runny nose as being the initial symptom.

The superintendent said the district also is receiving reports that individuals who are quarantined “have not stayed at home or have had visitors come to their house while they should be socially distancing and reducing contact with people,” noting that “both scenarios will increase exposure to others.”

She called on families to remain home if caregivers or students are feeling sick, someone in the household is waiting for the results of a COVID test, a household member is under county health department quarantine, and until all symptoms are gone.

At Cuba-Rushford, five middle and high school students total, along with one teacher, tested positive last week, followed by four more students yesterday and today.

There have been 17 new positives in the Town of Cuba so far this week, with 10 today. Town and school district boundaries aren’t the same.

At Friendship, there have been nine new student and two teacher positives within the past week, with three student cases Monday and one yesterday. The Town of Friendship has incurred five new positives Sunday and another six today.

Other towns showing significant positives so far this week are Almond with five yesterday and two today; Wellsville 14, including seven yesterday and three today; Amity, which includes Belmont, with seven yesterday and one today; and Hume with six so far this week.

There have been 238 individuals county-wide placed under quarantine so far this week.

The county’s positivity rate reached 8.2 percent yesterday, up from 6.7 a week ago, climbing from ninth to third highest in the state. Cattaraugus County is at 8.9 percent and Lewis at 8.3. In the meantime, the statewide rate has been declining and is at 2.1 percent, while that of the Western New York Region, of which Allegany County is a part, increased from 4.6 to 4.8 percent yesterday.

COVID-19 Trackers/dashboards which provide additional and sometimes different and conflicting information from county reports due to differences in reporting times and data gathering methods, are available at:

— Allegany County: http://bit.ly/3cHU2Rl

— New York Forward COVID-19 Tracker: https://on.ny.gov/2VIePLx

— New York COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker: https://on.ny.gov/3qAiJmD

— New York Schools Report Card: https://on.ny.gov/3ieQJkx

–- HHS Data Hub: https://bit.ly/39iZlnC

— Alfred State College: https://bit.ly/33rqlze*

— Alfred University: https://bit.ly/3xSMqSU*

— Houghton College: https://bit.ly/30rYtcv*

* NOTE: College data on the Schools Report Card and that on the individual institution’s website may vary.

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