Poloncarz says local peak may not be until mid-May

Apr 8, 2020

Erie County Executive Poloncarz says the local peak of the COVID-19 crisis is likely weeks away, despite a possible plateau downstate.

The county executive reminded his daily briefing Tuesday that this area was hit weeks later than the New York City area and our local peak is likely weeks behind. He says there has been computer modeling on trends here, like Tuesday's increase of nine deaths.

"In the worst-case scenario we got out peak sooner, but we have over 10,000 hospitalizations. In a terrible situation, we'd reach our peak basically at the end of this month. In a best-case scenario, if we continue to follow the flattening of the curve, our peak will not come until some time in mid-May. We still will have thousands of hospitalizations, above what we potentially can handle," Poloncarz said.

Poloncarz said that is why he is pushing for progress on preparing the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center to be a 1,000-bed COVID hospital.

Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein said the current practice of hunkering down at home will help.

"We're at a waiting game and that buys us time. It buys us time to be vigilant with social distancing and try to keep that curve squushed and that will extend it. And, then also it buys the hospitals time to try to secure more Personal Protective Equipment and ventilators," Burstein said.

The county executive and the health commissioner said some indications of leveling off in hospital admissions and deaths in the New York City area may be misleading because Western New York lagged weeks behind in the disease shifting from downstate to upstate.