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WNY, Finger Lakes region top NYS COVID-19 positive rate

The Western New York region topped the list with 9.77% COVID-19 positive rate for November 24.
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BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Western New York region continues to have the highest COVID-19 positive rate in the state. 

The state released their daily numbers Thursday afternoon. WNY topped the list with 9.77% positive rate for November 24. 

The Finger Lakes region, which also includes Wyoming and Genesee counties was listed with the second highest COVID-19 positive rate with 8.56%.

"...let's continue to take care of ourselves and our neighbors, and keep our communities safe and healthy," New York Governor Kathy Hochul said in a released statement.  "We know the tools to avert a spike in the numbers this winter: Get vaccinated. Get the second dose if you haven't already. Get the booster if you've done both. And don't forget to wear a mask in public indoor places."

Erie County recorded 858 positive COVID cases on November 24. On Tuesday, the county recorded the highest number of COVID positive cases since March 2020 with 878 cases.

Health officials say local hospitals are currently at or near capacity. The number of COVID-19 patients in Erie County increased by 62 percent over the past two weeks. 

The Erie County Department of Health is encouraging people to stay home this Thanksgiving and away from others if they are ill, and to get tested.

"Make sure it is a happy Thanksgiving by not passing on COVID-19 to someone else," Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said on Tuesday. "It's bad out there as we've shown; the worst day ever recorded in new cases for COVID-19 in Erie County was yesterday. We don't expect it to get much better in the next few days."

Because of the high positive rates, and COVID hospitalizations, Poloncarz announced a mask mandate for all indoor public spaces in Erie County. That mandate officially went into effect Tuesday morning and is part of a four phase approach.

Phase two of the plan would require vaccines to enter indoor dining, bars and entertainment venues. While it's not required at this time, some local businesses have already begun requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccines. 

According to the county, implementation of phase two would be put in place if COVID-19 case data, case rates and hospitalizations continue to rise even after the implementation of the mask mandate. These numbers will be reevaluated in three weeks on Dec. 13.