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Erie County: 64 COVID deaths reported in November alone

The health department's epidemiology office confirmed 24 more COVID deaths this week, bringing the total COVID deaths among county residents to 795.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — There were 24 more COVID-19 deaths this week, bringing the total deaths among Erie County residents to 795, a spokesperson with the Erie County Department of Health confirmed Friday.

In November alone, Erie County saw 64 COVID deaths. 

"It's disappointing, but not surprising," said Dr. Thomas Russo, the chief of infectious diseases at the University at Buffalo. 

"At this point the number of deaths is a little disproportionate to the number of new cases. That is, we have fewer deaths for the number of new cases." 

However, Dr. Russo remains concerned that the number of deaths could increase during the next several weeks for a variety of reasons. 

One, that there's typically a lag in deaths from new cases. He explained that's usually around four to six weeks. 

"The other issue is when you have a large number of cases, even if those individuals are less vulnerable, you're always going to get a certain percent of bad outcomes proportion to the cases," Dr. Russo said. 

Dr. Russo told 2 On Your Side he's also concerned about the potential impact of Thanksgiving  

"Although all and all the most vulnerable have done a good job in protecting themselves, Thanksgiving might have been a circumstance where they've left their guard down, gathered with friends and family, and honestly, with the large amount of community disease we have at this time, that is going to significantly increase the risk of getting infected," Dr. Russo said. 

Dr. Russo added with the increase in cases reported Thursday, those people may have not known for certain if they were COVID-positive during the holiday.

He believes that as the number of new cases rise, the number of deaths will rise as well.

"If we're ever going to tamp down the number of cases and keep this under control, the moment is now," Dr. Russo said.