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Governor tells Wyoming County help is on the way

Gov. Kathy Hochul, wearing a gray suit and white shirt, at a podium with microphones and the state seal, in front of a WCCHS background
Darren McGee
Office of the Governor
Gov. Kathy Hochul visits Wyoming County Nursing facility, part of Wyoming County Community Health System, Monday.

Fourteen percent of the population of Wyoming County has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 60 residents have died during the pandemic. Gov. Kathy Hochul visited Wyoming County Community Health System Monday to say help is on the way.

The hospital has been inundated by COVID, essentially full for weeks in a county where nearly half the population hasn't been fully vaccinated. The Board of Supervisors has declared a health emergency because of the virus issues, including blocking most other medical care and elective surgery.

In fact, much of rural New York has been hammered by COVID. From Warsaw., the governor moved on to Broome County, with its issues.

But not before praising health and governmental officials for keeping things going in Wyoming County.

"I know it's not easy. It's a tough time to be in the hospital facility space. It's been a real challenge since the beginning of this pandemic and I know people like you have had to deal with a lot of unforseen circumstances," she said. "I'll be as diplomatic as I can say. It's been hard. It's been really hard. And I think you for continuing to hang in there."

Hochul also praised healthcare workers as "angels on Earth."

"These healthcare workers who continue to show up, whether it's in a skilled nursing facility or on the front lines, walk into these halls, taking care of people at their most vulnerable. They have been through a long, excruciating time and like any other other human would be, they're exhausted. They walk in with a positive attitude every day, but they walk out feeling drained, in the sense of: it did not have to be this way."

The governor said said Albany will be sending more quick tests to Wyoming County and the rest of the state, millions of them as soon as they can be found. Supplies are running low and manufacturers are seeing them disappear as fast as they are delivered.

"Having that data point is really important, to know exactly what you have," Hochul said. "So we're actually focusing on more availability of testing kits, hospital capacity, more vaccinations as well. And, as I mentioned, more tests are on the way. This is a county that has over 6,000 people that have tested positive for COVID right now. That's out of a population of 40,000. You do the math."

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.