ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. — Erie County is in for some good news, at least as it relates to COVID-19 and how it's handling the pandemic.
On Wednesday afternoon, New York State reported 929 new cases of COVID-19 in Erie County. The data for Tuesday marked the first day since December 27 with fewer than 1,000 new cases in the county.
After a steady spike in cases this winter thanks to the Omicron variant, it appears that the worst may be behind us.
On Tuesday afternoon, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz tweeted out some data:
Comparably speaking, there were more new cases by day and a higher positivity rate by day the week of January 4-10 than there was the week of January 11-17.
According to infectious disease expert Dr. Thomas Russo, this break in cases is consistent with scientific research as it relates to the new Omicron variant itself.
"We seem to be on the descending slope of this curve right now," Dr. Russo explained. "We know that the Omicron wave, based on data from other countries, tends to have an increasing number of cases over three or four weeks, followed by decreasing cases."
Hospitals and their employees have been putting in overtime for the past several years, trying to keep up with the increase in cases with limited space available.
Dr. Michael Mineo is a Chief Medical Officer with Kaleida Health. He tells 2 On Your Side "the leveling off is giving us a sense of hope that our very tired, overworked staff is going to get a break."
When asked how they're handling this new downward trend, a spokesperson for Catholic Health sent in this statement:
One thing is certain, while this is indeed long awaited good news, the reality is that we are still in this pandemic.
"We're far from being out of the woods," Dr. Russo says. "We still have generally over 1,000 cases a day, which is certainly an underestimate, and we won't appreciate the full damage due to this Omicron wave for several weeks."