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Chautauqua County officials say COVID numbers are up at SUNY Fredonia

Chautauqua County leaders are urging the public to avoid large gatherings this Labor Day holiday weekend, while offering mixed news on COVID cases in two of the county's known clusters.

Five more COVID cases were identifed at SUNY Fredonia, according to officials, raising the known count to 50. Overall, there were 166 active cases of COVID in Chautauqua County.

Officials reported they had been made aware of large gatherings, and stated they were working with the proper authorities to break up or discourage any further group events.

"Though we've been in Phase Four for two months now, it does not mean that we are back to life as it was prior to March 15," said Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendell. "We can slow the spread if we all practice the same measures we did earlier. And we have shown and demonstrated that people in Western New York, especially Chautauqua County, can keep these numbers low."

The good news, officials reported Friday, was that there's a downturn in cases at Fieldbrook Foods, aDunkirk ice cream and dairy producer where a COVID cluster was identified late last month. Public Health Director Christine Schuyler said she and her peers joined state health officials in a recent inspection of the facility.

"Our real purpose here was to observe safety precautions that were in place, to see what the plant has been doing, and make recommendations for any improvements and additional measures that we've found on our way," Schuyler said. "I can tell you that in general, Fieldbrook Foods was doing a very good job of implementing all of the preventive guidance that has come out."

Schuyler said there were some areas where further improvements could be made, mainly in common areas such as break rooms and other spaces where employees might congregate or be in close quarters.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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