Erie County at moderate risk of community transmission of COVID-19

Erie County

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Erie County has moved into being at moderate risk for the spread of COVID-19.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon. Prior to this, the county was at a low risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Through Monday, there have been 89,862 cases of COVID-19 in Erie County. In the last seven days, there were 351 new cases.

“I think the message that needs to be sent is we’re not out of this pandemic,” said Poloncarz, who notes that the number of Covid cases is four times what it was a couple weeks ago.

For now, Erie County is still requiring masks for visitors to the County Rath Building, but not changing any wide ranging guidelines.

“If we saw a dramatic increase in cases locally such that the hospitalization really went up, then we could be taking about mask mandates in other facilities as well,” said Poloncarz. “It’s gonna be based on our numbers in our community. The CDC is looking at nationwide numbers and I think the CDC and the Biden administration fully expected that many more Americans would’ve been vaccinated by now.”

As of Tuesday, 64 percent of Erie County residents, age 12 and over, are fully vaccinated and although the CDC is out with new indoor mask rules for some parts of the country, Poloncarz doesn’t see it affecting fans at the upcoming Bills games and practices. “There are indoor portions of the stadium and if we see that the numbers are continuing to grow, then we may mandate that masks are in all club seats. We don’t have that issue right now because there’s no fans in the stadium in the club seat areas, but if the numbers continue to grow, based on CDC and health department requirements, we may require masks for everyone in the stadium, that is going to depend on the ‘then current’ status.”

As of Sunday, there were 38 COVID-19 patients in western New York hospitals. 28 of these people were in Erie County hospitals.

(Image from Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz’s conference)

Since April, 190 COVID-related deaths have occurred in Erie County. 182 of those people were not fully vaccinated against the virus.

So far this month, six of the seven people who died as a result of COVID-19 were not fully vaccinated. 18 died in June, and 17 of them weren’t fully vaccinated.

The total number of COVID-related deaths in Erie County so far this year is 652, with the average age of the deceased being 77.

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Watch the conference below:

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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