Note: This article was updated July 16 at 10 a.m. to Include Additional Information from Family Member
The report of the death came Wednesday afternoon as the county provided its daily COVID-19 update. In addition to reporting the death, the county also reported three additional cases for the day, bringing the total number of active cases in the county to 45.
For the death, County Health Director Christine Schuyler said it involved an elderly county resident. In a statement sent to the media, Schuyler said the elderly resident had been discharged from a hospital outside of the county to a “lower level of care” facility and as a result, his case was listed as recovered.
However, a person identifying themselves as the daughter of the deceased individual has reached out to WRFA, saying that her father was not recovering from COVID-19 at the time of his death. Instead, she said he “was moved to a skilled nursing facility as a Hospice patient…to die…certainly not ‘recovered’!”
The daughter also said the hospital did not have “in hospital” hospice, so her father had to endure a move to another facility while still gravely ill.
“It is definitely misleading [to say he had ‘recovered’] in my dad’s case,” she explained via email. “Doctors in his COVID ICU expected him to slip away in 12-15 hours when they slowly removed his oxygen and kept him comfortable with morphine, but instead he lasted three more weeks. The hospital is not set up for such cases and had to send him to a skilled nursing facility and could only find one in Erie to take him. None in Chautauqua County would take him.”
On Thursday morning, WRFA reached out Schuyler to see if the health department can provide more details on the criteria used to list a COVID-19 case as “recovered” and is awaiting a response.
Meanwhile, Schuyler has noted that the most recent death is a stark reminder that while some may have no symptoms or minimal illness, others can become gravely ill and can succumb to its complications. She’s asking the public to be mindful of this and to practice simple measures to help reduce risk of spread – including Washing your hands, covering your face, and respect 6 feet of space.
As for the three new cases, health officials say the involve a person under the age of 18, a female in her 20s, and a male in his 40s.
There are also two hospitalizations involving people who are in county hospitals that have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
There are 680 cases under quarantine/isolation orders by the Public Health Director and being monitored.
To date, there have been a total of 191 COVID-19 cases, but 138 have since recovered. There’s also now been a total of eight county residents who’ve died while having COVID-19.