Governor warns WNY to get infection rate down

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Days after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced new restrictions for areas seeing a “COVID cluster,” on Thursday he had a warning for Western New York: do better.

“We have to do better in Western New York,” Cuomo said during a briefing with reporters. He later went on to say the “rules,” or, in this case, closures, “have been proven to work” to bring the infection rate down.

The Governor also recently called our region a hot spot, but according to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Cuomo’s new “COVID Action Initiative” is based on zip codes seeing a cluster of cases as opposed to an entire region.

“We’re not like the other parts of New York State that have hot zones and the Governor is talking about shutting down – we are nowhere near that,” Poloncarz said.

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Erie County are the highest they’ve been since mid-June. Poloncarz said while that doesn’t necessarily mean those people were getting treatment for coronavirus complications, it could point to a larger issue.

“A lot of folks that are listed in the hospital are there for a surgery, or they had a heart attack and were tested in the hospital and determined to be positive,” he explained. “They weren’t ill with COVID, but we’re worried about that because it means there’s a lot of community spread.”

The County Executive says the Governor’s latest shut down orders prove Western New Yorkers must do everything they can to make sure we don’t regress and deal with what we did back in March.

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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