BUFFALO, N.Y. — Young people now make up the largest age group of those testing positive for the coronavirus in Erie County.
In their weekly briefing, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein shared statistics showing that of those testing positive, over 35 percent are in the age range of 20 years old to 29 years old. That is twice the positivity rate for all age groups combined.
Dr. Burstein said she is hearing from contact tracers that many of those in their 20s are reporting that they did attend a party, bar or crowded restaurant prior to testing positive.
Based on the latest results of antibody testing, the county executive says 94 percent of Erie County residents do not have or have never had COVID-19.
The health commissioner said the county is also investigating some 1,600 reports of those not abiding by the state's executive order requiring a mandatory 14-day quarantine after travel to over three dozen states where the COVID-19 infection rate is high.
In addition the county has received a similar number of complaints against bars and restaurants not following current state guidelines for maximum capacity, masking and social distancing. Once a complaint comes in, Burstein says the facility in question will be contacted over the phone or by a letter. The business could also be visited by a county sanitarian. Repeated violations could bring bring a possible fine, closure and being reported to the State Liquor Authority.
In response to questions residents have raised about delays in getting COVID-19 testing results, the county executive pointed out the difference between getting a test done in Erie County and a test done by Erie County. He pointed out Erie County has its own public health lab and is able to turn around results in approximately 48 hours. Others such as hospitals and urgent cares depend on commercial vendors for their test results, sometimes sending those tests out of town where shipping delays are possible.
Poloncarz also said the county currently has over 36,000 testing kits available that should see the county through the rest of the summer and early fall. Anyone looking to schedule a test through the county can do so online or by calling (716) 858-2929.