A 70-year-old Niagara County man with pre-existing health conditions has died of the Covid-19 virus, the county Health Department announced Tuesday.
He is the 22nd person to die because of the virus in the county. All but three have been older than 60, and all but two have had underlying conditions.
The county also confirmed 18 new cases of the virus Tuesday, bringing its total to 428. Of those, 115, or more than one-quarter of the total, live in Niagara Falls.
That led Mayor Robert M. Restaino to complain Tuesday that the state Health Department has chosen to conduct drive-up testing for the virus at the Niagara County Community College campus in Sanborn, which is difficult to reach for those without their own vehicles.
A county official who was not authorized to speak for the record said that clinic is expected to be held Wednesday. However, it's by appointment only through the state's Covid-19 hotline, 888-364-3065, or through the State Health Department website. Those without appointments will be turned away, county Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton said Tuesday.
However, Stapleton said if one person in a vehicle has an appointment, everyone else in the vehicle may be tested, too.
"Niagara Falls has over twice the number of positive Covid-19 cases of any other location in Niagara County and I have repeatedly requested more testing for the city, expressing my concerns for the elderly, minority and the poor in our community – population sectors that have shown a statistically increased risk," Restaino said.
"The placement of the drive-thru facility at the NCCC campus, without any consultation with local government, ignores the population sectors with the most risk, along with the public transportation limitations for those sectors from Niagara Falls to the NCCC campus," the mayor said.
In another state move with no advance notice, antibody tests were offered Tuesday at the Wegmans store on Military Road in the Town of Niagara.
Stapleton said he belived the state was looking to add about 300 test results to its database.
"Those antobody testing sites are not something that we can let you know about ahead of time. We actually don't know ourselves," County Legislature Chairwoman Rebecca J. Wydysh said during her daily televised update Tuesday. "They're pop-up testing, purposely, because they don't have enough tests, of course, to test everyone who would want to be (tested), and they're only there for a few hours."
Of Niagara County's confirmed cases, 19 are in hospitals, 188 are at home and 199 have recovered, county officials said.