ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. — As of Monday evening, there are 1,163 positive cases of COVID-19 in Erie County.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says three more people have died from coronavirus. At this time, 910 people are currently in isolation, 223 people have recovered, and 30 people have died.
As of Sunday's report, 214 people were hospitalized, and of those people 106 were placed in the intensive care unit, and 102 of those people were on airway assist, meaning they needed devices for breathing support.
Poloncarz says there are currently enough ventilators for the people who need them. He also says that hospitalizations and ICU care rates have seemed to level off, for now.
Poloncarz also said that if the Convention Center is transformed into a hospital, it is estimated it would take three to four days to build through the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA. The county has not yet seen a need to do so, at the moment.
The Erie County map's ZIP code feature is currently being fixed as there was an error regarding the number of people testing positive in Kenmore and Orchard Park. They also believe the large number of people testing positive on the East side are healthcare workers.
The county also discussed different methods to make face masks, as recommended by the CDC.
For more information on the CDC’s face mask suggestions, including tutorials on how to make masks at home, click here.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has extended the New York State PAUSE orders to April 29, which will keep non-essential businesses and schools closed.
Poloncarz says that local police are currently enforcing the PAUSE orders, and says that you can call your local law enforcement if you believe a business or individuals are violating the law.
The state will continue to enforce social distancing through imposing fines. The governor is asking local governments to start enforcing the social distance requirements. Cuomo has ordered an increase in the maximum fine from $500 to $1,000. The governor says it's not about the money, it's about compliance.
Violations issued by local law enforcement can range from disorderly contact, to willful violation of the public health law, and the amount you may be fined depends on what part of the law is being imposed. While Cuomo and Poloncarz have shared varying amounts you could be fined, it depends on what part of the law you violate.
Some laws that could be applied include New York State Health Law (PBH 12-B), which includes fines of up to $2,000 for individuals or up to $10,000 and/or a year of imprisonment for businesses.
Poloncarz also said that some people have also been violating the law in regards to assaulting police officers by intentionally coughing or spitting on them.
If you intentionally cough or spit on a police officer you could be punished with charges including attempted assault in the second degree, a class E felony; menacing in the third degree, a class B felony; and harassment in the second degree, a violation.
The county is asking families to please refrain from gathering for the holidays, and encourage them to celebrate virtually through social media and video calls.
Dr. Gale Burstein, the Erie County Commissioner of Health, says the county will only be using testing approved by the FDA. The county is looking into rapid testing, but are in competition with many other places struggling with COVID-19.
2 On Your Side’s Steve Brown asked about the concentrations in some zip codes, including 14215. Poloncarz said what's is causing the numbers to be higher in some zip codes is due to the number of medical workers living and working in those areas, who have been tested, and the presence of hospitals which may be testing their patients.
The state government is currently dictating what local governments will receive antibody tests, which test for if someone may have been infected and who may have some level of immunity, but are not able to be used to determine if someone is currently ill with COVID-19. Erie county is hoping to obtain these tests.