Dr. Gale Burstein

WBFO file photo

With proms and graduations coming up, Erie County is hoping to make a dent in the rapidly rising health problem of teens who are hit with COVID.

WBFO file photo

It was on March 14, 2020 when Erie County learned of its first three positive COVID-19 cases. The following day, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced a state of emergency, while Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein and her staff embarked on what would become months of long hours, struggles to find enough equipment and supplies, and public reactions ranging from warm support to angry protests. Burstein recently spoke to WBFO to reflect on the year that was.

WBFO file photo

People ages 65 and older may receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but the Erie County Health Department has been instructed not to be the distributor. Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein explained this to county legislators Thursday, while also expressing concerns for upcoming school breaks, when many families embark on out-of-state travel.

YouTube/Erie County

Dec. 2 marked new, dubious highs for Erie County, with the highest one-day number of new infections and highest hospitalizations since the COVID pandemic arrived earlier this year.

YouTube/Erie County

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz declared Thursday that COVID case numbers continue to increase, and he predicts a "dark time" in the coming weeks.

YouTube/Erie County NY

Both the Erie County Health Commissioner and Lieutenant Governor were delivering messages to enjoy the Memorial Day holiday weekend but with the same careful practices that, they both insist, will help the region continue to curb the COVID spread and advance into further gradual reopening of businesses and institutions.

University at Buffalo

A model produced by the University at Buffalo indicates that COVID-19 hospitalizations in Erie County are at a plateau. But experts there say when public restrictions are eased, there will be a local rise in hospitalizations. The challenge is keeping that second anticipated increase down while society attempts to reopen under a "new normal."

WBFO file photo

Officials are carefully watching the numbers of local COVID-19 cases. Monday's death toll of 12 represented the highest one-day count of COVID-19 deaths in Erie County, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 1,661 and deaths to 73. 

Facebook/County Executive Mark Poloncarz

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein provided their latest update on COVID-19 cases in the county Monday afternoon. While the trends hinted that Erie County might be nearing the flattening of its case curve, officials are renewing their calls for honoring social distancing.

Facebook/County Executive Mark Poloncarz

A member of Erie County government, identified only as anindividual who has worked in the county's coronavirus first response efforts, has tested positive for COVID-19. County Executive Mark Poloncarz confirmed the case, as part of his daily briefing on the pandemic and its local numbers. 

Facebook/County Executive Mark Poloncarz

More positive test results were confirmed Friday afternoon in Erie County, as health officials and the county executive again expressed frustration over a lack of available testing kits. Meanwhile, after stating he had heard reports of groups congregating in city parks in violation of coronavirus prevention guidelines, Mayor Byron Brown announced a shutdown of certain facilities on Buffalo park grounds.

Erie County Department of Health

A lack of coronavirus testing kits is troubling Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz as new positive cases of the virus spring up in the county. Two cases were confirmed Thursday, one in Amherst and the other from an undetermined location.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

While saying there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Erie County, Health Commissioner Gale Burstein recommended the public take the same preventive steps used to slow the spread of an illness which has made the rounds locally, the flu. 

High health risks without measles vaccine

Feb 8, 2019
WBFO News file photo by Mike Desmond

The Center for Disease Control reports individual cases of measles have been confirmed in ten states and that includes New York. Four cases were confirmed earlier this week in the Rochester area. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley spoke with the Erie County Health Commissioner about the importance of getting children vaccinated.  

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer is using the nationwide shingles vaccine shortage as another example of why the federal government needs to get back to work. He spoke at a New York pharmacy to demonstrate the extent of the shutdown, which is now nearly a month old.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

This time, the public meeting was at Maryvale High School, but the topic was the long, slow slog against the social damage and deaths of the continuing opioids crisis.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

It is a disease that does not get much attention, but for those who suffer from Lyme disease or have close family members who do, it is an awful health problem for which they say there is not much help out.

National Public Radio

A deadly batch of heroin is suspected in the deaths of seven Erie County residents in one day - the average number of overdose deaths in a week.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

On Wednesday the big weather incident was the lake effect snow. One day after, it's the severe cold that has arrived in the region. It is a bitter cold, warns Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein, that may prove dangerous to one's health and safety in very short time if not properly covered.  

Gretchen Ertl/Reuters/Landov

There has been a recall of one of the key weapons in the fight against fatal opioid abuse overdoses -- naloxone.

Mighty Taco

More than 140 people have been identified as reporting nausea and vomiting after eating at an Erie County Mighty Taco, according to the Erie County Health Department.

Mighty Taco, Inc.

A possible foodborne illness is under investigation at Mighty Taco fast food restaurant locations in Western New York.

Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein has confirmed the first case of the Zika virus in the county.

Information on how to protect yourself from winter weather and where to find various services is available on Erie County's Winter Storms & Extreme Cold website.

WBFO News file photo / WBFO News

As portions of New York City contend with the growing problem of Legionaire's Disease, Western New York officials are urging precautions as well.

Erie County Sheriff's Department

The Erie County Health Department is anticipating a significant increase in the number of deaths this year from heroin and other opiate overdoses.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Health experts led a forum Friday morning on Buffalo's Darwin Martin campus, where they discussed the advantages of preventive health care, to both the individual and the community.

Avery Schneider / WBFO News

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz signed legislation banning the use of electronic cigarettes in public places, Friday afternoon.

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

The Erie County Health Department says up to 2,000 people should visit a special clinic at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center Monday or Tuesday because they ate at Casa di Pizza. A server there has been found to have Hepatitis A.

Measles vaccine: Facts, not fear

Feb 10, 2015
WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Health officials continue warning parents to make sure their child is immunized against the Measles. There are confirmed cases in 17 states including New York and the Erie County Health Commissioner wants parents to understand facts,not fear, about vaccines.