BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says 852 new COVID-19 cases were identified county-wide Wednesday, setting a new record for daily cases since the pandemic began.

Since the first county residents were diagnosed on March 14th, 2020, officials say there have been 44,191 cases. Poloncarz said an increase in cases lately is associated with the holiday season and travel. He is expecting more cases to be identified in the coming days, with 6,772 ticket holders to the Bills Wild Card game being tested this week.

“Not all of them are Erie County residents. But I’m fairly confident a good portion of them are,” Poloncarz noted. “We’re expecting a big bump up with the number of tests that were performed, that we’re going to be getting results of over the next 24 hours.”

Each ticket holder for Saturday’s game is required to be tested in the stadium parking lot. Testing began Wednesday morning and runs through Thursday night. According to BioReference, which is conducting the testing, more than 5,000 tests were performed on Wednesday.

Chris Horvatits is an award-winning reporter who started working at WIVB in 2017. A Lancaster native, he came to Buffalo after working at stations in Rochester and Watertown. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.