BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — In Erie County, COVID numbers are climbing, as 654 new cases were confirmed by the county Department of Health yesterday.

The positivity rate was 16 point 8 percent.

News 4 spoke to Dr. Nancy Nielsen from the UB Jacobs School of Medicine Monday. She said it’s not surprising that numbers were low when the county re-introduced the mask mandate. And now, she says despite the fact that numbers are rising again, there has been a big rise in hospitalizations.

As for the Omicron variant, she expects that to take over soon. Dr. Neilson said Western New Yorkers planning to go out for New Year’s should celebrate safely by getting vaccinated and wearing a mask.

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