Daily update: Erie Co. worker tests positive for COVID-19, Convention Center could become COVID-19 hospital


ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB)–During their daily COVID-19 update, Erie County officials say a county worker tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says the person became symptomatic and is now recovering at home. 

He’s asking his staff to monitor for symptoms. 

The Erie County Health Commissioner touched on the county still dealing with the opioid epidemic during the pandemic. Dr. Gale Burstein says suspected overdose deaths are up and warns not to take opioids to deal with the stress of this difficult time.

According to the Erie County Executive, more childcare slots have become available, continuing to be a key issue during this time. Poloncarz says essential workers in need of childcare can call 716-877-6666.

He also touched on the availability of jobs. Those looking for both full and part-time work can click here

Officials are working to develop a local economy task force to monitor the effects of the coronavirus in Erie County in the coming weeks. Poloncarz expects to have more details on that on Monday.

Another update on places that could be makeshift hospitals or quarantine spaces came during the press conference held by county officials. 

Starting Sunday, the ECC Burt Flickinger basketball court will be a shelter for people who do not have COVID-19 but are displaced. 

“We haven’t nearly reached our peak,” Dr. Gale Burstein said. “More people will get diagnosed, be hospitalized, recover, die. But there is something we can do about it: Flatter the curve by keeping up social distancing.”

As for the information released on the individuals who died due to the coronavirus, the county will continue to share just age ranges of people, according to Poloncarz. 

He says if the families want to share other things, like underlying conditions, that’s up to them.

Health Commissioner Burstein is also asking any local businesses or healthcare providers with extra Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) to contact the health department to share with local hospitals. She says PPE is still a long-term concern.

There’s no timeline for when non-essential workers may return to work, the same goes for schools. Poloncarz says the county may not see the COVID-19 peak for weeks.

At this time, positive cases in the county remain at 245 with 5 people dead, that’s according to the Erie County COVID-19 map.

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