More young people catching coronavirus in Erie County

Officials believe it is from Fourth of July gatherings and at bars

Mike Baggerman
July 15, 2020 - 6:14 pm

    BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) – Erie County officials are concerned about the rising number of coronavirus cases among young people and believe the rise originated from Fourth of July gatherings and from visiting area bars.

    “We’ve seen the pictures of partying and all kinds of things down south,” Polonarz said. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen the pictures of that up here, too. People are having a grand ‘ole time and also sharing COVID among themselves.”

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    Poloncarz said the county does not have concrete proof that Fourth of July parties were the cause of a local rise in cases, but said contact tracing has found an increase in cases among young people who attended a party or traveled out of state.

    There were 254 new confirmed cases of coronavirus last week. Among those new cases, 136 were of people between the ages of 20 to 39. Another 21 people were diagnosed with the virus under the age of 20.

    Poloncarz said there is no information on a single “super spreader” event in Erie County, but they caution that people are now sick 11 days after the parties.

    COVID-19 has killed 652 people in Erie County. Six people who have died are under the age of 40.

    “We are a little concerned about younger individuals testing positive for various reasons,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said. “When 54 percent of your cases are in the age group of 20 to 40, basically, it should tell folks that just because you’re young does not mean you’re immune to COVID. You can catch it. You can get sick. You can die.”

    For six straight days beginning July 7, there was an increase in coronavirus hospitalizations. At the time Poloncarz gave his weekly update, New York State reported 51 total hospitalizations in the Western region as of July 13. The state updated its statistics late-Wednesday afternoon to show a drop for the first time in a week.

    47 people are currently hospitalized with coronavirus in all five counties in the Western region. The most hospitalizations was 263 on April 28.

    Poloncarz said hospitals can adequately handle the small uptick in hospitalizations.

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