COVID-19 cases continue to pile up in Erie County and the death toll continues to rise, with seven county residents dying in just the last week, mostly in nursing homes. That brings the death toll since the pandemic began to 689.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said Wednesday there were a total of 330 new cases in the county last week and new diagnoses continue to shift to younger patients.
"For last week's cases in the 10-19 category, 6.6% of all 10-19 years old who tested, tested positive," Poloncarz said. "So the week before it was 20-29 year olds. This past week it was 10-19 year olds and 57% of those 78 cases were actually in the 17-18-19 years old category."
When there was a deeper dive into the contact tracing records, Poloncarz said many are dropouts from education because their schooling went virtual.
"You've heard from the school districts when they've released information with regards to caseloads in their districts, we can confirm that while the numbers seem higher than what you would expect based on what has been released by school districts, almost all of those individuals either aren't in school or if they are in school, they've been in virtual settings and have not attended class," he said.
County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein said of those who were tested and found to be positive in the last week, a large percentage had no virus symptoms and they could still infect others.
"The anecdotal stories where someone will have symptoms and go get a test and then join a group and even disclose to people in the group, 'I have these symptoms and I just got a COVID test' and then nobody has a problem with that," Burstein said. "Nobody's masking and then, boom, that person has been positive and then everybody's exposed and they are at risk of being positive."