The COVID death toll continues to rise in Erie County, with ages of the dead across the board. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is pleading with citizens to avoid traditional gatherings of the holiday season. He says the lesson of Thanksgiving is that family gatherings can be lethal.
"Our Department of Health epidemiology staff is still reviewing the date," Poloncarz explained.
"For the new 60 cases (of deaths attributed to COVID) we wanted to get a little bit more idea on the timing and it appears most of those were cases that fell between the date of December 12 and December 17. So, when you look at it, it's a six-day period. Ten deaths a day."
The numbers now, he maintains, are getting worse than the numbers in the beginning of the pandemic.
Poloncarz is also blasting local youth hockey organizations by name for continuing to practice and play, includes at a scrimmage over the weekend in a Cheektowaga rink, broken up by a county sanitarian.
"Some of my former fellow coaches say you don’t have to wear masks. This is junk," said Poloncarz, a long-time youth hockey coach.
"Well, sometimes the kids get very sick. But, sometimes their parents get really sick and it’s important that the coaches understand and the parents understand that the best way to keep the kids on the ice even if it’s just practicing is to follow the COVID guidelines."
Poloncarz summarily shut down Monday's briefing when it shifted to questions about what rules might allow fans in the stands in Orchard Park if the Bills go deep into the NFL playoffs. Poloncarz, a dedicated Bills fan, says there are more important issues than whether or not fans can tailgate or attend a game.