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State's worst COVID rates found in WNY, Finger Lakes regions

In Erie County alone, 624 new COVID cases were reported on Thursday. That ranked second in the state behind only New York City (1,142).

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to climb across Western New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office announced on Friday.

The Western New York region's seven-day average for positive COVID-19 tests on Thursday was 7.41 percent, which is second among the state's 10 regions. The number was 7.06 percent on Wednesday and 6.64 percent on Tuesday.

In Erie County alone, 624 new COVID cases were reported on Thursday, which ranked second in the state behind only New York City (1,142).

The Western New York region includes Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany counties.

The Finger Lakes region -- which includes Orleans, Genesee, and Wyoming counties -- was tops in the state with a seven-day average of 7.72 percent on Thursday. That number was 7.29 percent on Wednesday and 6.93 percent on Tuesday.

The spike in COVID cases has had an impact on hospitals, including in the Southern Tier.

At Olean General Hospital, they have set up a trailer outside to serve as a satellite emergency room to treat and discharge less critical, non-COVID patients in an effort to unburden the hospital's emergency room.

"At the present time we have 45 COVID patients in-house, with several of them in our ICU," said Dr. Jill Owens, who serves as the hospital's interim Chief Medical Officer. "We also have some holding and waiting for beds in the institution."

Thirty more COVID deaths were reported on Thursday in New York. That includes two in Erie County, plus one each in Niagara County, Genesee County, Chautauqua County, and Cattaraugus County.

The state is urging people who have been hesitant to get vaccinated to get their shots, to protect others in the community.

"Thank you to all the New Yorkers who are keeping their children, themselves and their other loved ones safe and healthy ahead of the holidays by getting the vaccine," Governor Hochul said in a statement.

"Whether you are five or 50, getting vaccinated is quick, easy, and the most important thing you can do to protect your family from COVID-19 as we approach the holiday season."

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