TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) – With COVID-19 hospitalization rates rising in Western New York, Tonawanda Town Supervisor Joe Emminger is asking town residents to be more cautious.
“I’m going to start wearing masks everywhere I go. I do wear masks but probably not enough. We’re going to be encouraging our employees to wear it, we’re going to be encouraging the public to wear their mask indoors, for the good of our community, for the good of our small business owners,” Emminger told News 4.
The supervisor says Monday’s announcement from Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, should be a wake up call.
“We gotta stay the course,” he said. “Time will tell with whether they listen to it.”
The town is encouraging people to get the COVID-19 vaccine if they haven’t already, and a booster shot. Emminger says one of his concerns is that if cases and hospitalization rates don’t go down, it’s going to affect small businesses.
“We need to do everything that we can to make sure that our businesses, our small business owners, who struggled so much during last year and continue this year. We need to make sure that they stay open,” he said.
Healthcare officials across Western New York say most of the people in the hospital with COVID are unvaccinated.
“Over the past few weeks or so, to say the numbers have increased greatly is an understatement and the vast majority of those numbers are actually the unvaccinated,” said Dr. Hans Cassagnol, who’s the Chief Physician executive at Catholic Health.
“Unfortunately as we have an increasing number of cases there will be a trickle over effect into those who are most vulnerable which unfortunately will result in hospitalizations and bad outcomes,” said infectious disease expert Dr. Thomas Russo.