ERIE COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH PROVIDES COVID-19 DATA UPDATE FOR WEEK ENDING DECEMBER 11, 2021
ERIE COUNTY, NY – The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is providing an update on COVID-19 data. For the week ending December 11, 2021, ECDOH received reports for 4,345 new COVID-19 cases among Erie County residents, a 22% decrease from the previous week. This weekly case count is very similar to pre-Thanksgiving holiday levels. Erie County’s COVID-19 case rate of 455 cases per 100,000 residents in the past seven days for the week ending December 11 is a decrease from the previous week’s case rate of 580. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) set a case rate threshold of 100 or more cases per 100,000 residents in the past seven days for a community to be considered to have “high transmission.”
31% of new COVID-19 cases last week were among city of Buffalo residents. For reference, city of Buffalo residents make up 29% of all Erie County residents. This past week the ZIP codes with the highest seven-day case rates per 100,000 persons were: 14202 (Buffalo, 29 cases), 14034 (Collins, 19 cases), 14218 (Buffalo, 131 cases), 14032 (Clarence Center, 53 cases) and 14212 (Buffalo, 70 cases). The small population of some of these ZIP codes can be impacted by a relatively small number of new COVID-19 cases. Eight ZIP codes have 7-day case rates of more than 600 new cases per 100,000 residents.
Contact tracing case investigations continue to note family and household clusters of COVID-19 cases. With the holiday season approaching, ECDOH encourages people who plan to gather with friends and family to stay home and away from others if ill. Also, COVID-19 testing is a tool to make sure you know your COVID-19 status before small gatherings, especially if other guests are elderly, have chronic medical or immunocompromising conditions, are pregnant, or unvaccinated.
About 48,000 COVID-19 test reports were received last week, an increase from the previous week’s total. Weekly test reports have remained stable over the past four weeks. ECDOH and health care providers within Erie County still have substantial diagnostic testing capacity. People who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, should strongly consider a diagnostic COVID-19 test. The New York State Department of Health maintains a list of testing locations. ECDOH created a list of community COVID-19 testing resources for parents and caregivers. Free COVID-19 tests are available through ECDOH by calling 716-858-2929 to schedule an appointment. Appointments are required for COVID-19 testing through ECDOH. Wait times for ECDOH appointment telephone line are longest in the morning. Callers may choose to call after 10 a.m. if they want to avoid a wait.
The weekly positivity rate was 9.0%, down from 10.8% for the week ending December 4. Positivity rates declined in all age groups, though children under age 18 years continue to have the highest positivity rates. For all cases under age 18, the positivity percentage was 10%; for all case ages 18 years and older, the positivity percentage was 8.7%. These higher positivity rates for children may reflect lower relative numbers of tests in these age groups, and a higher likelihood that symptomatic children and adolescents will seek a COVID-19 test for return to school purposes. The 30-39-year-old age group had the highest number of COVID-19 cases last week; this age group also had the highest 7-day case rate per 100,000 persons, at 738.
For children under age 18 years, case totals decreased from the previous week by about 23%, to 1,345 cases, in line with the 22% decrease in countywide cases.
The school team in the ECDOH Office of Epidemiology is managing a large volume of cases among k-12 students and school staff. Data for the week ending December 4 are incomplete* because official test reports are pending. The Thanksgiving holiday may have contributed to a lower number of tests and positive test results for the week ending November 27.
With 374 COVID-19 hospitalizations reported in Erie County hospitals on December 12, 2021, the number of patients admitted to Erie County hospitals with COVID-19 has remained stable over the past two weeks. [See chart at end of release]. 258 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 (69%) were not fully vaccinated. Among those patients, 59 (77%) of 77 patients admitted to the ICU were not fully vaccinated; and, 42 (79%) of 53 patients with an airway assist were not fully vaccinated. Vaccines work to reduce the risk of serious illness and hospitalization. The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) publishes statewide data for COVID-19 cases over time by vaccination status, and daily hospital admissions over time by vaccination status.
ECDOH is reporting COVID-19 mortality data. ECDOH received reports of 52 COVID-19 associated deaths in the past seven days; these reports were from November and December. Total COVID-19-related deaths from March 2020 to December 9, 2021 now stand at 2,255, with 979 reported in 2021. CDC publishes national rates of COVID-19 related cases, hospitalizations and deaths by vaccination status at https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#rates-by-vaccine-status.
Through December 13, 26.1% of 5-11-year-olds in Erie County have at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. All adult age groups have at least 70% of those populations with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Additional data, including vaccination estimates by ZIP code, are posted to the ECDOH web site. NYSDOH also updates vaccination data by demographics, by county and by ZIP code.
ECDOH has an active schedule of COVID-19 vaccine clinics, listed at www.erie.gov/vax. Additional clinics have been added throughout the county through December 30. Clinics for 5-11-year-olds are listed at www.erie.gov/vax. ECDOH will also vaccinate any eligible Erie County resident at their home. Call (716) 858-2929 for the “Vax Visit” program.
ECDOH encourages Erie County residents who are not fully vaccinated to begin their COVID-19 vaccine series. COVID-19 vaccination is especially important for youth and families attending school or child care.
Following recent FDA authorization for COVID-19 vaccine booster doses for 16- and 17-year-olds, ECDOH vaccine clinics will provide a COVID-19 booster dose to anyone age 16 years and older as long as enough time has elapsed from their initial series completion (6 months for Pfizer and Moderna; 2 months for J&J). ECDOH encourages people to review the recommended booster eligibility criteria, evaluate their risk factors and talk to their own physician with questions. NYSDOH has further information about booster doses.
Finally, CDC and NYSDOH have begun to report influenza data for the 2021-2022 flu season. Influenza activity remains low nationally but continues to increase. There are early signs that flu vaccination uptake is down this season compared to last. ECDOH reminds all residents that there is still time to get a flu vaccine; flu vaccine is recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older. Flu can have serious complications for older adults, individuals with immunocompromising medical conditions, pregnant women and infants.
Chart: Erie County Hospitalization Data, last two weeks (November 29- December 12, 2021).
Data Sources: New York State Department of Health and Erie County hospitals
ECDOH, COVID-19 vaccine info & clinic schedule: http://www.erie.gov/vax
ECDOH, COVID-19 Information Line: (716) 858-2929 – foreign language interpretation available
ECDOH, COVID-19 Weekly Data Updates: https://www2.erie.gov/health/index.php?q=covid-19-media-data
New York State Department of Health, COVID-19 Boosters: http://ny.gov/boosters