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Health & Wellness

Burstein: Recent spike in Erie County COVID-19 cases due to travel, Fourth of July gatherings

Gale Burstein.jpg
Tom Dinki/WBFO file photo
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Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County health commissioner, speaks at a press conference March 4, 2020 at the county building, discussing the testing of county residents for COVID-19 during the early stages of the pandemic.

A spike in positive COVID-19 cases this week has bumped Erie County from the CDC’s low transmission risk category to its moderate risk transmission category.

A health department investigation found the 48 reported positive cases of the virus on Tuesday were due to traveling to and from southern states, where positive cases are soaring, but also because of large gatherings for the Four of July weekend.

But Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein said these numbers are not reflective of the overall downward trend in positivity and hospitalization rates in the county since mid-April.

“We can't let down our guard,” she said. “Masking still works. Social distancing still works, having events outdoors with good ventilation. Those all still works and we all need to keep those in mind. But the number one, the key out of this pandemic is getting a COVID-19 vaccine.”

Nearly 71% of adults 18 or older have at least one dose of the vaccine but Burstein said misinformation about the vaccine is keeping that number from growing and getting the county back to pre-pandemic conditions.

“In order to bring our numbers down for everybody to be safe for our community to be safe, we have to increase our vaccination numbers,” she said.

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