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Erie County COVID-19 update: vaccination rates, contact tracing, variants of concern

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Fri, Apr 16th 2021 03:20 pm

The Erie County Department of Health is providing an update with COVID-19 case investigation findings, information about variants of concern, and COVID-19 vaccinations administered to date.

COVID-19 Case Investigations

From COVID-19 contact tracing interviews completed for the week ending April 10, 17% of newly diagnosed COVID-19 positive people who were contacted reported having received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, while only 2% of people contacted reported they were fully immunized.

“Despite the increase in new daily COVID-19 cases, this finding from case investigations is part of a positive trend,” Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein said. “This set of interviews indicates that COVID-19 vaccination is working to prevent positive COVID-19 cases and illness. There is still a large part of Erie County’s population, including children under age 16, who are susceptible to COVID-19 infection. Vaccination is a powerful tool to prevent the spread of this disease and it is heartening to see our coverage rates increase each week.”

COVID-19 Variants of Concern

Genetic sequencing by the Genomics and Bioinformatics Core in the University at Buffalo Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences detected several variants of concern in samples from Erie County residents this week. These included B.1.1.7 “United Kingdom,” B.1.427 “California,” and B.1.351 “South Africa.” Two of the B.1.1.7 samples were taken from a fully vaccinated individual.

“While no vaccine is 100% protective, Erie County hospitals report that none of their current COVID-19 admissions have been fully vaccinated,” Burstein said. “We have to keep in mind that the clinical trials and post-marketing surveillance show that the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines are very effective at preventing moderate and serious illness. With vaccination and continued public health preventive measures, we can reduce the burden of this disease in our community, both in terms of transmission and severity of illness, hospitalizations and deaths.”

COVID-19 Vaccinations

Based on information provided by the New York State Department of Health, as of April 15, 43% of Erie County residents have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 30% have completed the COVID-19 vaccine series.

Moreover, 52% of eligible Erie County residents ages 16 and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 36% of eligible Erie County residents age 16 and older have completed the COVID-19 dose series.

Through April 15, ECDOH administered 57,676 first doses and 40,251 second doses at county-run points of distribution. This includes first-doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered at Erie County’s first-ever drive-thru pop-up POD at the Eden Corn Festival grounds and the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation Volunteer Fire Department with the Seneca Nation.

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