The Chautauqua County Health Department is working with schools and businesses in the area for random COVID-19 testing.

At a meeting this week of the Chautauqua County Board of Health, Christine Schuyler, director of public health and commissioner of social services, said there was a high demand for testing. “There is a lot of demand in emergency care centers and emergency rooms for COVID tests, especially rapid tests. Most of these people are symptomatic of some symptoms of COVID-19 ”, she said. “We are actively working with private doctor’s offices to recruit more to have their own patients tested.”

Schuyler said they were working with school principals on a drug testing program.

They also offer rapid tests for students and school staff for symptomatic people.

“This is a drive-by-appointment opportunity for these, so we can either quickly identify if this is a case of COVID-19 or you will get the differential that it is. not so that children, teachers and staff can return to school faster. “ she said.

As of August 1, around 50% of people who test positive have not been vaccinated, 7% are partially vaccinated, 14% are fully vaccinated and 30% are unknown. Schuyler said the 30% are people who will not respond to efforts by the county health department to say whether or not they have been vaccinated.

“I can tell you by talking to some emergency room doctors, they say it’s obvious upon presentation without even asking who is vaccinated and who is not, depending on the symptoms and the severity of the condition. illness they see when someone comes to the emergency room “, she said. “Those who are not vaccinated are absolutely sicker and this is the trend seen across the state and country, showing that these vaccines really work. They are working and doing what they were supposed to do, which is to reduce hospitalizations, serious illness and death. “

Schuyler said local and regional hospitals are “not completely outdated” with COVID patients, but they are seeing more young people than in the past.

Schuyler said county officials are concerned about the weather changes and more and more people are gathering inside. “This is when we tend to see a communicable disease spread more quickly and easily, when people are in confined spaces with little air circulation.” she said. “It is only natural for the virus to spread further. “

About 49% of residents of Chautauqua County have been fully immunized. This includes those under 12 who cannot be vaccinated due to their age. About 57% of eligible people have been fully immunized. “We are on our way”, said Schuyler.

Throughout September and October, the county will be hosting drive-thru vaccination clinics at the Chautauqua Lake Central School Bus Garage every Tuesday evening. The county also hosts weekly immunization clinics at SUNY Fredonia and Jamestown Community College.

Health Council member Dr. Elizabeth Kidder said their goal was to treat as many patients as possible to prevent them from going to the emergency room so that the emergency room was not overcrowded. “We are seeing such a wave of disease. We do our best in an outpatient setting and save our colleagues in the hospital setting who are absolutely exhausted ”, she said.

Kidder said she is working hard to educate people about the benefits of the vaccine. “I don’t see a way out of this cycle of cyclical mutations and this type of death cycle without getting a larger proportion vaccinated. It’s an intimidating future that awaits us at the moment ”, she said.

Board of Health member Dr Robert Burke agrees. “I have never been so pessimistic about the future of public health as I am now. We see the possibility of endless cycles of mutations ”, he said.

Burke believes that because people did not get the vaccine, the virus mutated and became more harmful to children. “For some reason people are stuck in a paradigm that was last year and cannot understand that we are fighting a whole new devil who is really dangerous, dangerous for our children and who will continue,” he said.

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