Erie County officials believe coronavirus will appear in WNY

Burstein: No evidence to suggest coronavirus won't come to Buffalo

Mike Baggerman
February 27, 2020 - 3:30 pm
(WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

(WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Erie County health officials said that coronavirus is expected to come to Western New York and that they are taking the necessary precautions ahead of its appearance.

Dr. Gale Burstein said she is not sure when the first case of the virus will come to Erie County but advised the public to follow the normal cleaning standards such as washing hands, covering sneezes, staying away from people who are well if you are sick, and other common healthy habits.

"We might want to think harder about social distancing," Burstein said.

That means that you should avoid crowds in case people have the virus. Burstein said schools need to consider opportunities to make classrooms smaller or even consider e-learning as a result of mass closures of schools in case the virus becomes an issue locally. She also said businesses should consider e-meetings or telecommuting.

The county unveiled a dedicated website on the Department of Health page.

There are 15 confirmed case of coronavirus in the United States as of Saturday. Burstein said this virus is different than past diseases like SARS that have gained mainstream attention because of the number of people it has affected across the globe.

Health officials also note that there's been more than 14,000 confirmed cases of the flu this season along with multiple deaths across New York State. Unlikely the flu, coronavirus has no vaccine.

Currently, COVID-19 has been seen among close contacts of returned travelers from Wuhan, China. The CDC said the virus is not currently spreading in the community in the United States.

Coronavirus originated in China, according to researchers. Confirmed cases of the disease have been found in multiple other countries including Italy, Iran, Algeria, Austria, Croatia, Switzerland, and more.

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