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Erie County weekly COVID-19 positivity rate lowest since October 2020

The seven-day positivity rate for the county is currently 4.2 percent.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A number of topics were covered Tuesday in Erie County's weekly COVID-19 briefing. 

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz started off with the latest data. The good news is that the weekly positivity rate for the county is the lowest it's been since October 2020. The seven-day positivity rate currently stands at 4.2 percent. 

As of February 21, 245 people in Western New York are in the hospital, 213 of them in Erie County hospitals and five additional deaths were recorded.

Credit: ECDOH

On the vaccine front, through February 22, the Erie County Health Department has administered 22,468 first doses and 17,036 second doses. That is 13.5 percent and 8.3 percent of Erie County residents, respectively.

The county has now taken delivery of 5,300 vaccine doses that were delayed last week due to the weather in other parts of the country. The health department is currently in the process of contacting people whose January 27-30 appointments were canceled to reschedule for later this week.

County Executive Mark Poloncarz said nearly all nursing home residents have now received both doses of the vaccine, but expressed concern about the number of nursing home staff members that have declined to get vaccinated. He added that there is evidence the vaccine is working citing the number of new nursing home cases and deaths have dropped recently.

Credit: ECDOH

County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein says the county is still waiting on the state for further guidance regarding weddings. She did say venues will be responsible for notifying the health department when a wedding has been scheduled to make sure the venue is in compliance with all current protocols. She added if a venue doesn't quite meet all the criteria, the county will work with them to get there.

Dr. Burstein also revealed 49 youth sports teams, 25 of them youth hockey teams, have been placed on a 10 day pause because of COVID-19 cases among either players or coaches. She said the county executive will be taking part in a meeting with hockey representatives Tuesday night to discuss, among other things, strongly discouraging the use of locker rooms when practice and/or games take place.