Just as we are getting excited about summertime in Western New York, COVID-19 rears its ugly head again. The positivity rates are increasing across the state and right here in Erie County. According to the Department of Health, Erie County has moved back into a 'medium' COVID-19 level. Erie County's Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein issued a reminder to residents,

We have the tools to protect ourselves and each other from COVID-19: masking, testing – including at-home tests – if you have a known COVID-19 exposure or symptoms, and staying home and away from others when ill. These measures are especially important to protect people who are most vulnerable to serious COVID-19 illness, like those who are not fully vaccinated or boosted, and people who have immunocompromising conditions, including older adults and pregnant women.

 

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According to the most recent data from the county, for the week ending April 9, 2022, there were 1,632 new COVID-19 cases, not including positive home tests. COVID-19 cases increased by 64%  from the previous week (996 cases). The positivity rate was 8.5%, which is almost double the COVID-19 positivity rate of 4.7% from the week prior. Dr. Burstein says that even though cases are increasing, the vaccines are working,

From a public health perspective, we are doing all we can to ensure access to vaccines, testing and treatment. While total COVID-19 case numbers are rising, current local hospitalizations and deaths have not increased substantially. Available COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and contributing to keeping our COVID-19 hospitalization numbers down. Though a majority of eligible people in Erie County have completed a vaccine series, a significant proportion have not. And we still have more to do to encourage booster doses, which strengthen that protection even further.

COVID-19 Rates Are Quickly Increasing In New York State

Eight of the 10 regions in New York have a COVID-19 7-day positivity rate of more than 5 percent as of April 14, 2022.

Statewide - April 14 - 4.68%

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Capital Region April 14 - 7.32%

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Central New York - April 14 - 13.13%

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Finger Lakes - April 14 - 9.91%

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Long Island - April 14 - 5.57%

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Mid-Hudson - April 14 - 4.22%

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Mohawk Valley - April 14 - 7.65%/strong>

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New York City - April 14 - 3.07%

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North Country - April 14 - 6.71%

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Southern Tier - April 14 - 8.16%

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Western New York - April 14 - 10.18%

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The CDC Says You Should Mask Up In These 10 Upstate NY Counties

The CDC has designated these 10 Upstate New York counties as currently "high-risk" for COVID as of April 14, 2022 and is recommending residents wear masks because of that designation. The designation is based on the number of hospital admissions per 100,000 residents in a 7 day period. Most of the counties on this list are in Western NY, centered around the Syracuse and Binghamton areas. In the Capital Region, Albany and Rensselaer Counties are currently at medium risk.