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Erie County COVID-19 data shows increase in cases in younger adults


Mon, Jul 13th 2020 05:00 pm

53% of new cases last week were between 20-39 years old, compared to 30% for all confirmed cases

The Erie County Department of Health is reporting a noticeable increase in the percentage of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases among the 20-29-year-old and 30-39-year-old age groups.

COVID-19 diagnostic tests for Erie County residents have maintained a weekly positivity rate of under 1.5% since early June. Yet within that data, the increasing percentage of younger adults testing positive is concerning to county officials.

“For all confirmed cases, the percentage of individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 who in their 20s and 30s is about 30%,” Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein said. “However, for last week’s data, 54% of new cases – more than half – are seen in those age groups, with nearly one-third of all new cases being in the 20-to-29 age category. We are also seeing more young adults who are hospitalized.”

“Younger adults may be less likely to have severe symptoms, and more likely to go out to crowded locations and large gatherings where one infected person could unknowingly spread COVID-19 to dozens of others,” Burstein added. “That’s a dangerous combination.”

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “If this trend continues, it could have dire impacts on our positivity rates and hospitalization numbers, and affect our ability to stay in phase four of ‘New York Forward’ and open schools. Younger adults are not invincible and could pass on the disease to others who are more at-risk for being hospitalized or even dying from contracting COVID-19.

“COVID-19 is still in our community, and we all have a responsibility to protect ourselves and each other from this disease.”

Confirmed new COVID-19 cases by age group for the week ending July 11:

All Erie County residents should:

√ Wear a mask when they can’t maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet;

√ Wash their hands frequently with soap and running water;

√ Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects;

√ Avoid large gatherings;

√ Avoid travel to states listed in the New York State Joint Travel Advisory; if travel is unavoidable, quarantine for 14 days upon returning to New York; and

√ Stay home if feeling ill.

√ Consider a diagnostic COVID-19 test. These are available at no cost through ECDOH. Call 716-858-2929 to schedule, or visit www.erie.gov/covidtestsites for a location nearby.

ECDOH recommends a diagnostic test for anyone who feels they are at risk for COVID-19, those with a recent travel history to states with a high level of community transmission, close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases, and people who have COVID-19 symptoms.


The age range of 20-29 has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Erie County, followed by the age 30-39 range. More than 50% of all new cases last week fell within these two age groups.

“Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you’re immune to COVID,” Poloncarz said in a Wednesday afternoon press conference.

In terms of COVID-19-related hospitalizations in Western New York (51 on July 13, with 10 in the ICU), “The numbers are trending upwards; we’re not happy about that,” Poloncarz said.

“We’re in a very scary trend,” Burstein added. “We’re seeing more people turn positive; we’re seeing more people admitted to the hospital.”

Additional resources:

  • Erie County Department of Health COVID-19 information line – schedule a diagnostic test: 716-858-2929
  • Erie County Department of Health, COVID-19 test sites: www.erie.gov/covidtestsites.
  • Erie County Department of Health, COVID-19 data and map: www.erie.gov/covidmap.

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