On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Erie County meets the indicators for a “high” coronavirus level. This level is based on the number of new daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over seven days, new COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 population (seven-day total), and percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients (seven-day average).
On April 20, the most recent day for which data was available, there were 79 COVID-19 patients in Erie County hospitals; 31 of those patients were admitted due to COVID-19. Additional data based on CDC calculations and estimates are available at the CDC website.
As reported COVID-19 cases continue to increase locally and statewide, the Erie County Department of Health is sharing CDC safety recommendations for communities with “high” COVID-19 levels.
“These recommendations are basic protective measures that we are all familiar with at this point in the pandemic,” Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein said. “Our department has walk-in rapid and PCR COVID-19 diagnostic testing available six days a week, and regular COVID-19 vaccination clinics. Our COVID-19 ‘test to treat’ program, introduced last week, can connect eligible, symptomatic people who have a positive COVID-19 test result from our testing sites with a prescription antiviral medication that reduces the risk of serious illness.”
She continued, “There is currently a good community pharmacy supply of COVID-19 antiviral medication in Erie County. Individuals 12 years of age or older weighing at least 88 pounds with a positive COVID-19 test and who are at high risk for progression to severe disease should talk to their primary care provider or an urgent care center about antiviral medication.”
ECDOH stated that, in communities with a high COVID-19 level, individual- and household-level COVID-19 prevention strategies include:
•Wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status (including in K-12 schools and other indoor community settings)
•Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines
•Get tested if you have symptoms
•If you are immunocompromised or high risk for severe disease
√ Wear a mask or respirator that provides you with greater protection
√ Consider avoiding nonessential indoor activities in public where you could be exposed
√ Talk to your health care provider about whether you need to take other precautions (e.g., testing)
√ Have a plan for rapid testing if needed (e.g., having home tests or access to testing)
√ Talk to your health care provider about whether you are a candidate for treatments like oral antivirals, PrEP, and monoclonal antibodies
•If you have household or social contact with someone at high risk for severe disease
√ Consider self-testing to detect infection before contact
√ Consider wearing a mask when indoors with them
•Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters
•Maintain improved ventilation throughout indoor spaces when possible
•Follow CDC recommendations for isolation and quarantine, including getting tested if you are exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19.
ECDOH stated, “People may choose to mask at any time. People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask. Masks are recommended in indoor public transportation settings, and New York state continues to require masks on public transportation.”
√ Erie County Department of Health: www.erie.gov/health
√ ECDOH, COVID-19: www.erie.gov/covid19
√ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 community levels: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/community-levels.html