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Erie County changes its COVID-19 testing criteria, as cases rise

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The Erie County Health Department is changing its COVID-19 diagnostic testing criteria.

The Department of Health said it will offer tests to Erie County residents who are under quarantine as close contacts of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases or who are symptomatic county residents.

As of Tuesday, Erie County's yellow zone positivity rate was 7.47%, Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported. That has continued to rise from Oct. 18-24, when the rate was 1.81%. The state likes a rate under 1%.

In a release, County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein said all diagnostic COVID-19 tests through her department are provided at no cost and no doctor referral is needed.

“We expected that we would need to shift our testing resources when our county experienced an increase in cases, and that is happening right now,” said Burstein. “Our daily positivity rates and volume of daily cases are increasing. This change in testing criteria is part of our aggressive approaches to reversing these troubling trends.”

The change is effective Thursday, as county offices are closed Wednesday for Veterans Day. All testing appointments must be scheduled, at 858-2929. More information is on the Health Department's website.

WBFO's Marian Hetherly contributed to this story.

Mark Wozniak, WBFO's local All Things Considered host, has been at WBFO since mid-1978.
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