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Erie County sees spike in COVID-19 cases in people ages 10 to 19

County Executive Mark Poloncarz says most are ages 17, 18, or 19 and are not in school. Instead, they're taking part in virtual learning.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Erie County continues to see an increase in the numbers of young people testing positive for the coronavirus.

In the county's weekly briefing, County Executive Mark Poloncarz says the increase is in the range of ages 10-19, and mostly those ages 17, 18 and 19. He stressed those positive cases are not in school, but taking part in remote learning.

Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein says the positive results among the older adolescents and young adults are based on their behavior, including living in congregate settings such as college dorms and attending large social gatherings.

Erie County's positivity rate now stands at 1.7 percent. In the past two weeks, 62% of positive cases have reported COVID-19 symptoms and one-third reported having no symptoms.

Poloncarz says he and others continue to be concerned about asymptomatic spread and urges the protocols of hand washing and social distancing to continue to be followed.

Dr. Burstein also announced the county has received six rapid testing machines and 4,000 test kits from the New York State Health Department. She said the county will deploy these to virus hot spots around the county in order to get same-day results. 

"We plan on deploying them to hot spot areas in Erie County. That can include outbreaks in specific neighborhoods, specific businesses, specific schools where we fill there is a need," Dr. Burstein said.

So far, Erie County health sanitarians have inspected 96 gyms, fitness centers and pools. Seventy-six of them were found to be satisfactory, 12 will need follow-up inspections, six were found to be unsatisfactory and will be re-inspected, and two have voluntarily closed.

“They’ll go through the site. If there is a problem, they will explain to them what they need to do to correct it. Hopefully, they can correct it on-site," Dr. Burstein said. "If they can’t, they give them some time to to correct it and return for a follow-up, just like we do with restaurants."