Erie County officials concerned with southern tier infection rate

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — As the COVID-19 infection rate in the southern tier continues to rise, officials in Erie County are concerned how this could impact their area.

On Wednesday, Governor Cuomo said there are micro-clusters popping up around the New York-Pennsylvania border, which is also driving up the number of hospitalizations.

According to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, the counties surrounding Erie had a 40-percent hospitalization rate – the highest that number has been since the start of the pandemic.

Poloncarz said we’re already seeing the impact from this; two people from those southern counties ended up receiving treatment in an Erie County hospital for COVID-19. The county executive said he’s concerned if this continues to happen, the hospitals in the southern part of Erie County could start running out of beds for patients.

Three times a week, officials from the Western New York region hold a conference call with New York State officials to discuss any issues surrounding COVID-19; the last time they spoke was Monday.

Poloncarz said it was a very “pointed” discussion, calling on the leaders of the southern tier counties to get things under control before it starts impacting the rest of Western New York.

Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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