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COVID cases continue to rise in WNY


Wed, Nov 17th 2021 04:35 pm

The Niagara County Department of Health issued the following update Wednesday on positive coronavirus cases in Niagara County (from Nov. 11-17).

It stated, “We regretfully report the deaths of four Niagara County residents from COVID-19. We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of these individuals. 

The rest of the update is as follows: 

√ 1,045 new positive cases, for a total of 26,527 positives to date (isolations + recoveries + deaths) 

√ 1,225 active cases (1,196 isolating at home, 29 in a hospital) 

√ 24,898 recovered 

√ 404 deaths

√ 134,463 residents with at least one vaccine dose (https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/covid-19-vaccine-tracker

√ 8.4% positivity rate, seven-day average (https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/positive-tests-over-time-region-and-county

The Erie County Department of Health reported that, for the week ending Nov. 13, it received reports for 3,567 new COVID-19 cases among Erie County residents, a 37% increase from the previous week.

From the week ending Oct. 23 to the week ending Nov. 13, COVID-19 cases have increased 105%.

Erie County’s COVID-19 case rate of 374 cases per 100,000 residents in the past seven days for the week ending Nov. 13 is an increase from the previous week’s case rate of 282. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention set a case rate threshold of 100 or more cases per 100,000 residents in the past seven days for a community to be considered to have “high transmission.”

ECDOH stated 33% of new COVID-19 cases last week were among City of Buffalo residents. For reference, those individuals make up 29% of all Erie County residents. This past week, the ZIP codes with the highest seven-day case rates per 100,000 persons were: 14111 (North Collins, 31 cases), 14141 (Springville, 50 cases), 14025 (Boston, 18 cases), 14032 (Clarence Center, 44 cases) and 14219 (Blasdell, 62 cases).

Contact tracing case investigations continue to note family and household clusters of COVID-19 cases. With the holiday season approaching, ECDOH encourages people who plan to gather with friends and family to stay home and away from others if ill. Also, it said, “COVID-19 testing is a tool to make sure you know your COVID-19 status before small gatherings, especially if other guests are elderly, have chronic medical or immunocompromising conditions, are pregnant, or unvaccinated.”

About 45,000 COVID-19 test reports were received last week, a very slight decrease from the previous week’s total. ECDOH and health care providers within Erie County still have substantial diagnostic testing capacity. ECDOH stated, “People who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, should strongly consider a diagnostic COVID-19 test. The New York State Department of Health maintains a list of testing locations. ECDOH created a list of community COVID-19 testing resources for parents and caregivers. Free COVID-19 NAAT tests are available through ECDOH by calling 716-858-2929 to schedule an appointment. Appointments are required for COVID-19 testing through ECDOH. Wait times for ECDOH appointment telephone line are longest in the morning. Callers may choose to call after 10 a.m. if they want to avoid a wait.”

As with recent weeks, the 30-39-year-old age group had the highest number of COVID-19 cases. The age groups with the highest positivity rates were school-aged children: 11% for 5-10-year-olds; 13% for 11-13-year-olds; and 10.6% for 14-17-year-olds. These higher positivity rates may reflect lower relative numbers of tests in these age groups, and a higher likelihood that symptomatic children and adolescents will seek a COVID-19 test for return to school purposes.

For children under age 18, case totals increased by 280 last week from the previous week, to 970. The age group with the largest increase in COVID-19 cases was the 5-10-year-old age group, which increased 63% for the week, with 454 COVID-19 cases, compared to 279 COVID-19 cases the previous week. School-aged COVID-19 cases increase 150% over the past four reporting weeks. And, cases among children under 18 years old have increased steadily as a proportion of countywide cases, to 27.2% for last week.

The school team in the ECDOH office of epidemiology is managing a large volume of cases among K-12 students and school staff. Data for weeks ending Nov. 6 and 13 are incomplete, because official test reports are pending. The 721 COVID-19 cases in this group for the week ending Nov. 6 represent the highest total of weekly COVID-19 cases, including for the 2020-21 academic year.

With 199 COVID-19 hospitalizations reported in Erie County hospitals on Nov. 14, the number of patients admitted to Erie County hospitals with COVID-19 has ranged from a low of 145 to a high of 199 hospitalizations over the past two weeks. One hundred and twenty patients hospitalized with COVID-19 (60%) were not fully vaccinated. Among those patients, 24 (59%) of 41 admitted to the ICU were not fully vaccinated; and 15 (56%) of 27 with an airway assist were not fully vaccinated.

“Vaccines work to reduce the risk of serious illness and hospitalization,” ECDOH stated.

The New York State Department of Health publishes statewide data for COVID-19 cases over time by vaccination status, and daily hospital admissions over time by vaccination status.

ECDOH received reports of 18 COVID-19-associated deaths in the past seven days. Total COVID-19-related deaths from March 2020 to Nov. 11, 2021 now stand at 2,123, with 847 reported in 2021. CDC publishes national rates of COVID-19 related cases, hospitalizations and deaths by vaccination status at https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#rates-by-vaccine-status.

With data compiled by the ECDOH epidemiology office through Nov. 15, 60.7% of the 16-17-year-old age group has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine; and 10.3% – or about 7,300 – of 5-11-year-olds in Erie County have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to date. Additional data, including vaccination estimates by ZIP code, are posted to the ECDOH website. NYSDOH also updates vaccination data by demographics, by county and by ZIP code.

ECDOH has an active schedule of COVID-19 vaccine clinics, listed at www.erie.gov/vax. Clinics for 5-11-year-olds are listed at www.erie.gov/vax. ECDOH will also vaccinate any eligible Erie County resident at their home. Call 716-858-2929 for the “Vax Visit” program.

ECDOH encourages Erie County residents who are not fully vaccinated to begin their COVID-19 vaccine series. COVID-19 vaccination is especially important for youth and families attending school or child care. Third COVID-19 Pfizer or Moderna vaccine doses for people with moderately or severely immunocompromising conditions are available at any Erie County COVID-19 vaccine clinic.

ECDOH vaccine clinics will vaccinate provide a COVID-19 booster dose to anyone age 18 and older as long as enough time has elapsed from their initial series completion (six months for Pfizer and Moderna; two months for J&J). The department “encourages people to review the recommended booster eligibility criteria, evaluate their risk factors and talk to their own physician with questions. NYSDOH has further information about booster doses.”

A #VaxToSchool clinic will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, at the Orleans-Niagara BOCES Career & Technical Educational Center, 3181 Saunders Settlement Road, Sanborn. Available vaccine types include Pfizer-BioNTech (first, second, booster), Moderna (booster) and Janssen/J&J (booster). Niagara County is partnering with NYDOH on this event, and providing Tops and Amazon gift cards. To register someone age 5 and up, visit https://on.ny.gov/3CQs9Rm; for a second dose (ages 12-plus), visit https://on.ny.gov/3wezzLE; or for those ages 18-plus, visit https://on.ny.gov/3CZVskz.

For more:

√ The Niagara County heat map that breaks the positive cases down by municipality since the beginning of the pandemic can be found at https://tinyurl.com/ybgzmusw

√ The Niagara County heat map that breaks down active cases by municipality can be found at https://tinyurl.com/y5b4hldh

√ ECDOH COVID-19 vaccine information and clinic schedule: http://www.erie.gov/vax

√ ECDOH COVID-19 information line: 716-858-2929 – foreign language interpretation available

√ ECDOH COVID-19 weekly data updates: https://www2.erie.gov/health/index.php?q=covid-19-media-data

√ New York State Department of Health COVID-19 boosters: http://ny.gov/boosters

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