BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Erie County Department of Health will look towards the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and New York State for guidance on issuing any mask or vaccine mandates for the county.
While Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz previously told 2 On Your Side that the county will be watching hospitalizations to determine if any COVID-19 restrictions should be put in place, a spokesperson from ECDOH has said the department does not have any specific benchmarks in place.
A spokesman for Poloncarz told 2 On Your Side that they are not currently looking at a vaccination requirement for indoor dining, gyms, or theaters. That requirement is being implemented in New York City by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Erie County has meet the "substantial" risk category, meaning there are 50 or more cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents, at which point the CDC recommends even people who have been vaccinated wear masks when they are in public spaces. The county passed the threshold last week.
Erie County has issues a mask mandate for all county buildings, but has yet to issue any mandates for the county as a whole.
ECDOH reports that they are in communication with local hospitals about COVID-19 hospitalization. Hospitals in Erie County are reporting a relatively low census for COVID patients at this point.
Currently Catholic Health Systems has the most COVID patients at 26 with three actually in critical care units.
Kaleida reports they have 14 COVID patients in all of the system's hospitals. And it is very good news to hear that Oishei Children's Hospital currently has no COVID patients at all even with the concern that children under the age of 12 are not able to get vaccinated at this point. Children's hospitals elsewhere around the country are experiencing much higher levels of pediatric patients.
And ECMC tells us they have 8 COVID patients right now and fortunately none of them are on ventilators in the ICU.
Hospital officials also report that a majority of the patients are not fully vaccinated, and the ones who are vaccinated have other medical conditions that make them more susceptible to severe COVID-19 infection or other complications.