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Niagara County reports 8 new deaths, as more areas reopen

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Niagara County
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Niagara County DMV offices reopen Monday, but social distancing and face coverings will be required.

Niagara County officials are trying to look forward from the COVID-19 pandemic, while not forgetting the difficult ordeals residents have gone through.

The county has had more than 1,200 coronavirus cases, with some patients still in the hospital and 87  reported deaths. But in her daily briefing Thursday, Legislature Chair Becky Wydysh reported a change in the numbers.

"We had no new deaths to report that have happened just today or yesterday, but we did just find out that our numbers have been adjusted for Niagara County to include the deaths of eight more Niagara County residents," she said. "Now, these deaths occurred between May 4 and June 11 in hospitals outside of Niagara County, which is why we have just been made aware of them."

That brought the county's to death total to 95. The county is supplying personal protective gear and other safety gear to employers who need the increased safety to ensure meeting new state safety rules for reopening.

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Credit Niagara County
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Niagara County Legislature Chair Becky Wydysh reported the deaths of eight more Niagara County residents that occurred outside the county.

At the same time, Wydysh said there are signs of relatively normal life gradually returning.

"We will be opening one playground area in each of our three county parks: Krull, Oppenheim and West Canal Parks," she said. "The rest of the playground areas will open next Friday. Splash pads at Krull and Oppenheim will open by the end of the month. We know that with the weather being nice, that's going to be a great way for everyone to get out and enjoy themselves in the fresh air."

The county's Department of Motor Vehicles will reopen Monday, but officials are pleading with Albany about when athletes can start working out, looking toward the formal start of practices July 6.

"Based on that fact that gatherings of 25 or fewer individuals is now allowed, many people were interpreting that guidance to mean that we could hold non-formal practices, start those things and get the kids ready for July 6," Wydysh said. "Unfortunately, that was not the ruling from the state."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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