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Erie County COVID-19 positive rate drops in Orange Zone, spikes in Yellow Zone

Western New York set a record with 265 COVID-19 patients hospitalized across the region on Friday. The previous record was 263, which was set on April 28.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The numbers haven't changed much for Erie County's Orange Zone, which showed a slight drop with the latest batch of numbers.

However, they climbed by 1 percent in the county's Yellow Zone.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo provided an update into the state's progress on the COVID-19 pandemic in an email on Saturday.

The positive rate for Friday in the Western New York region was 5.7 percent, up from 4.1 percent on both Wednesday and Thursday. The seven-day rolling average for the region is 4.99 percent.

In Erie County's Orange Zone, the seven-day rolling average dropped from 7.40 percent on Friday to 7.25 percent on Saturday.

In Erie County's Yellow Zone, the seven-day rolling average rose from 6.57 percent on Friday to 7.58 percent on Saturday.

According to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, county-wide the seven-day positivity rate is 7.1 percent, and Friday's single-day percent positive rate was 6.9 percent, with all areas included. 

Poloncarz on Saturday night said in a tweet that Western New York set a record with 265 COVID-19 patients hospitalized across the region on Friday, with 221 on those being in Erie County. The previous record was set on April 28, when 263 patients were hospitalized.

Niagara County's Yellow Zone showed a slight decrease, from 4.4 percent on Friday to 4.3 percent on Saturday for the seven-day rolling average.

Statewide, the positivity rate in 2.87 percent.

Cuomo touted the record-high 207,907 test results reported, but said more must be done to curb the spread of the coronavirus, warning that Thanksgiving was no time to lack discipline.

"While we continue to see COVID-19 cases surge around the globe, our data-driven micro-cluster strategy - centered on a robust testing program - has helped New York maintain one of the nation's lowest infection rates," Cuomo said in a statement.

"However, we are in no way immune to the problems we are seeing elsewhere, and we are entering a very dangerous period with the cold weather and holidays approaching. I understand the desire to come together with those you love and celebrate the holidays, but truly loving someone in 2020 unfortunately means you might not get to be together physically," Cuomo added. 

"Time and again, New Yorkers have put their toughness on display in order to keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe, and we must continue doing that, as difficult as it may be. By making these tough decisions and practicing the safe behaviors we know help stop the spread, we will get through this as one unified, loving state," Cuomo added.

Hospitalizations increase locally and statewide

As cases continue to rise, hospital capacity becomes an important factor in COVID-19 response. Locally and statewide, patient hospitalizations have increased.

The last available data for hospitalizations locally is Thursday, November 19. On that day there were 242 people hospitalized in Western New York hospitals, up from 233 on Wednesday. 

Erie County made up 200 of those patients, which was also up from 194 the day before. Forty-eight people in Western New York were in ICUs, with 38 of them being in Erie County. Of those Erie County patients, 15 were on an airway assist.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says that of the patients hospitalized that day, 42 percent were age 64 or younger. 

The Governor's office said on Saturday that statewide, hospitalizations were at 2,443, up 95 from the day before. There were 381 newly admitted patients and 265 discharged. 

There's people hospitalized in 50 of the 62 counties in New York State. Of the 2,443 patients hospitalized, 467 are in intensive care units, up by 22. In the ICUs, 212 of those patients were intubated. 

Thirty-four people died statewide from the virus on Friday, including one person in Allegany County and nine people in Erie County. To date, 26,326 people have died in New York from the virus.