Poloncarz not imposing mask mandate on businesses at this point

Erie County

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — At Wednesday’s COVID update at the Rath Building, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says he’s not imposing a mask mandate on businesses at this point.

He says he recommends it, but it’s not required. Poloncarz added he wouldn’t impose a proof of vaccination requirement, like New York City did on Tuesday, before a mask mandate.

The county executive also mentioned total new COVID cases have increased 80% in the last two weeks.

According to the county executive, the highest numbers of new cases are in age groups 20-29 and 30-39, but Poloncarz adds cases in all age groups increased.

Poloncarz says there have been outbreaks and clusters in school/childcare settings and households. He also says there are cases related to travel to southern states.

Overall, the county executive says hospitalizations are still low compared to winter and spring but quadrupled since mid-July.

He tells us 55% of COVID hospitalizations are age 64 and younger.

“Why are these numbers not higher like the rest of the country? Because we have a lot of people vaccinated,” Poloncarz said.

He says 95% of county residents who died from COVID from April-July 29 were not fully vaccinated prior to infection.

“If you’re of senior age and you have not been vaccinated, you’re basically playing Russian roulette,” Poloncarz said.

Poloncarz says there are 64.3 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past seven days. He also says Erie County has been in the substantial risk category, according to the CDC, since last Friday and has continued to go up since.

He says the most cases last week per 100,000 residents were in Springville, zip code 14141, then East Buffalo, zip code 14215, and Depew, zip code 14043.

“The Delta Variant is serious. It’s much more highly contagious,” Poloncarz said. “We know people can catch COVID-19 even if they’re fully vaccinated.”

The county executive encourages anyone experiencing any symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, to get tested.

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