ERIE COUNTY, NY – On Thursday, April 21, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that Erie County meets the indicators for a “high” COVID-19 level. This level is based on the number of new daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over seven days, new COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 population (7-day total), and percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients (7-day average).

On April 20, the most recent day for which data was available, there were 79 COVID-19 patients in Erie County hospitals; 31 of those patients were admitted due to COVID-19. Additional data based on CDC calculations and estimates are available at the CDC web site.

As reported COVID-19 cases continue to increase locally and statewide, the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is sharing CDC safety recommendations for communities with “high” COVID-19 levels. “These recommendations are basic protective measures that we are all familiar with at this point in the pandemic,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “Our department has walk-in rapid and PCR COVID-19 diagnostic testing available six days a week and regular COVID-19 vaccination clinics. Our COVID-19 ‘Test to Treat’ program, introduced last week, can connect eligible, symptomatic people who have a positive COVID-19 test result from our testing sites with a prescription antiviral medication that reduces the risk of serious illness.”

She continued, “There is currently a good community pharmacy supply of COVID-19 antiviral medication in Erie County. Individuals 12 years of age or older weighing at least 88 lbs. with a positive COVID-19 test and who are at high risk for progression to severe disease should talk to their primary care provider or an urgent care center about antiviral medication.”

In communities with a high COVID-19 level, individual- and household-level COVID-19 prevention strategies include:

  • Wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status (including in K-12 schools and other indoor community settings)
  • Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines
  • Get tested if you have symptoms
  • If you are immunocompromised or high risk for severe disease
    • Wear a mask or respirator that provides you with greater protection
    • Consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities in public where you could be exposed
    • Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to take other precautions (e.g., testing)
    • Have a plan for rapid testing if needed (e.g., having home tests or access to testing)
    • Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you are a candidate for treatments like oral antivirals, PrEP, and monoclonal antibodies
  • If you have household or social contact with someone at high risk for severe disease
    • consider self-testing to detect infection before contact
    • consider wearing a mask when indoors with them
  • Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters
  • Maintain improved ventilation throughout indoor spaces when possible
  • Follow CDC recommendations for isolation and quarantine, including getting tested if you are exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19.

People may choose to mask at any time. People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask. Masks are recommended in indoor public transportation settings, and New York State continues to require masks on public transportation.