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Erie County Executive: County to provide face shields to every hairdresser

In Monday's coronavirus update from the county, Poloncarz provided new information about Phase Two and testing in Erie County.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein held a press conference Monday afternoon to share updates on coronavirus in Erie County, as well as Phase Two possibly beginning Tuesday. 

Poloncarz made specific announcements regarding personal protective gear being provided to salons and the Canadian border. 

As of Monday evening, there were 6,118 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 out of the 60,633 tests completed. Poloncarz says 14 Erie County residents have died from COVID-19 since Friday. Thus far, 538 people with confirmed-positive cases of COVID-19 have died.

On May 30 (Saturday), there were 125 people admitted to Erie County hospitals for COVID-19. Of these individuals, 29 people were in the ICU and of those people, 16 required airway assist.

No deaths happened in Erie County hospitals on May 30. According to the County Executive, the county's caseload has dropped significantly, and ICU and airway assist cases have stayed fairly static in the past week.

Confirmed cases by age groups show that the majority of positive tests are coming from people age 20 and up.

Erie County has done more than 50,000 antibody tests and a 7.5 percent positive rate.

As far as COVID-19 deaths, 75.2 percent of deaths in Erie County have been outside of the City of Buffalo. This is in line with the population data for the county, as 72.1 percent of the county's population is outside the City of Buffalo.

The county also shared additional information about fatality statistics based on race and ethnicity. 

In regards to reopening, Poloncarz had additional updates on what phase two will look like in Erie County.

If you are a Phase Two industry, you need to have a safety plan in place and affirm with the state that you have a plan in place. For more information, click here.

Phase Two industries are as follows:

  • Professional Services (Law Firms, Accounting, etc)
  • Retail 
  • Admin Support
  • Real Estate, Rental, and Leasing
  • Barbers and Salons (must wear masks and face shields, and get tested within two weeks of starting work) 

Erie County will provide one reusable face shield to every barber or cosmetologist in the county who needs one. 

“We are working to make the re-opening process easier for barber shops and salons by providing the PPE they need to keep their employees and customers safe and also comply with state guidance,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz.

To register to receive a face shield, sanitizer and face masks, click here. You must be a registered cosmetologist or barber with the state. The distribution of said PPE will begin on Tuesday.

As things begin to reopen in Erie County, many people are also wondering when they can cross the Canadian Border. Poloncarz added he is hopeful the Canadian government will stick with the June 21 reopening of the border to civilian traffic.

Additionally, in regards to this weekend's protests, Poloncarz said that he has no reason to expect further looting or violence. Both Poloncarz and Burstein also state their concern regarding a spike in COVID-19 cases following the protests and believe that only time will tell if the spike will happen. 

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