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Poloncarz says Erie County hospitalizations 'headed in the wrong direction'

Office of Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz

An angry Erie County Executive Poloncarz said Wednesday a segment of the public still doesn't comprehend that the COVID-19 virus is widely circulating and infecting people. He said there are people who seemingly don't believe it's a real issue and live as if there is no risk of being infected. 

The county executive pointed out Albany won't allow the region to open up if the number of virus cases and hospitalizations doesn't start trending downward. Poloncarz said the virus curve is bending, but not the way it needs to bend.

"We're headed in the wrong direction. We are not going in the right direction with regards to hospitalizations. We were going down. We had four straight days of declines and now we've had three straight days of increases, including we're now at the highest point with our hospitalizations that we've ever been for COVID-19 patients in Erie County hospitals. And, there's a little increases in the ICUs," Poloncarz said in a virtual news briefing.

Besides the medical care statistics, the deaths continue to rise with the county up to 247 victims of the virus. Statistics around the country suggest there may be many more who are dying as a result of the virus but not being measured as victims.

Poloncarz said a significant part of the county population is ignoring the push to stay home and is out traveling around, citing traffic he has seen on Transit Road as an indicator. 

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.