BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — With 99 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, Erie County now has a “substantial” risk of transmission, according to CDC measurements.

A region enters this stage of COVID-19 transmission when there is a case rate of at least 50 per 100,000 residents over a week’s time. Erie County’s current rate is 54 per 100,000.

“Even with significantly fewer diagnostic tests being done, we have seen a sharp increase in new daily case totals,” Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein, says. “Regardless of vaccination status, wearing a mask is one way to reduce the risk of disease transmission. We continue to recommend that people stay home when sick and get a diagnostic test if you experience symptoms or are a close contact of case.”

In all, there have been 496 new cases reported in the county within the last seven days.

Because of this, the county will require masks for anyone inside a county building or facility, starting Saturday. This applies to employees, vendors and visitors, whether or not they’re vaccinated.

In addition to that, county employees who enter non-county owned buildings while on the job must wear a mask there, too.

The Erie County Department of Health and the CDC are recommending that owners of private businesses require mask wearing for everyone, but it is up to them.

MORE | Poloncarz not forcing restrictions on businesses right now, urging owners to mandate mask policies

“The preventive and protective measures – including vaccination – we take now will have a direct impact on the trends we see in new cases over the next few weeks,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says.

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