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Dr. Burstein: public must continue protective behaviors over holiday weekend

Erie County's Health Commissioner reminds everyone to wear masks and socially distance or 'we'll be right back where we started from.'

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Erie County's Health Commissioner knows the weather this Memorial Day weekend is going to be beautiful and people are going to want to get out and take advantage of it.

But Dr. Gale Burstein is reminding people to continue the practices that have led to the Western New York region reaching Phase 1 reopening or "we'll be right back where we started."

"Mask, mask, mask," Burstein said, adding that it's the most important thing to do to decrease the transmission of the coronavirus when with other people. She encourages people to visit family and friends virtually and to avoid large crowds if you do venture outside. 

Reacting to Friday's news that Seneca Gaming and Entertainment plans to reopen its casinos next month, the commissioner urges people to maintain personal responsibility, "just because a place of entertainment opens doesn't mean you have to go there."

Burstein says fortunately, so far in the county, there have been no confirmed cases of the childhood inflammatory syndrome possibly related to COVID-19. The three cases that were under investigation have come back negative.

One thing that continues to be a concern, however, is the number of overdoses in the county. Burstein says the Medical Examiner has seen very high numbers this month of opioid and non-opioid related overdose deaths, including those from fentanyl-laced cocaine.

She announced the Health Department will be handing out free narcan on Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Elmwood Village at Lafayette and Bidwell. If you can't make it there, you can call the county at 858-7659 to make other arrangements to get it.

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