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Submitted by the Erie County Department of Health
With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increasing, the Erie County Department of Health is strongly urging residents to act now to reduce their personal risks of infection and the chance of disease transmission in the community.
“At this time last year, Erie County was at a much better place in terms of hospitalizations and number of new daily cases, and that when we did not have access to COVID-19 vaccine,” Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein said. “On Aug. 25, 2020, we reported 42 new COVID cases, compared to 225 new cases on Aug. 25, 2021. Also, 24 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Erie County on Aug. 25, 2020. On Aug. 25, 2021, Erie County hospitals had 111 patients hospitalized with COVID-19.”
She added, “With each day, our level of concern about community transmission and the risks for unvaccinated people grows. The small actions we take in our day-to-day lives, and larger measures that we take as a community, can have a positive impact on what we see in the next few weeks. It’s up to each of us to take these steps.”
The delta variant likely accounts for the majority of current COVID-19 infections in Erie County. The delta variant causes more infections and spreads faster than earlier forms of the virus that causes COVID-19. It is as contagious as chicken pox. All Erie County residents need to continue to take steps to protect themselves from COVID-19 and reduce communitywide COVID-19 transmission.
√ Masks protect you and those around you: Wear a well-fitting face mask when indoors in public and in crowded outdoor settings.
√ Physical distancing: Put 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting seriously ill from a COVID-19 infection.
√ Large events: Wear a mask and maintain 6 feet of physical distance, even if outdoors, or if attending a large event such as a concert, festival or sports game with a smaller group.
√ Ventilation: Being in crowds like in restaurants, bars, fitness centers or movie theaters puts you at higher risk for COVID-19. Avoid indoor spaces that do not offer fresh air from the outdoors as much as possible. If indoors, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors, if possible.
√ Diagnostic testing: Monitor closely for symptoms and seek a diagnostic test if symptoms develop. Loss of taste or smell is not as common a symptom with the SARS-CoV-2 delta variant.
√ Travel: Consider a diagnostic COVID-19 test three to five days following return home, especially if you have spent time in an area with high COVID-19 transmission. Monitor closely for symptoms.
COVID-19 vaccination reduces the risk of moderate and serious illness from COVID-19 infection. A full schedule of ECDOH COVID-19 vaccine clinics is available at www.erie.gov/vax.