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Answering your questions with Erie County Commissioner of Health

New York reports first coronavirus-related death in state
Posted at 6:12 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 18:12:58-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — At 7 Eyewitness News we’re committed to answering as many of your COVID-19 questions every day. Earlier Tuesday afternoon, 7 Eyewitness News anchor Ed Drantch spoke with the Erie County Commissioner of Health on Instagram live.

Dr. Gale Burstein says every night, the county gets an update from hospitals. As of Monday night, she says, 102 patients were hospitalized.

"I don’t have the number in front of me, but about roughly half of those were in the intensive care unit," Dr. Burstein said.

Operate like the virus is everywhere. That’s the message Dr. Burstein stuck to during this interview. She continued to stress social distancing. Those who are sick should stay away from others and isolate at home. If someone who is sick has to share spaces, she urged thoroughly cleaning them after each use.

“We’re just asking them to minimize their non-essential travel and non-essential activities with other people, ya know in person," Dr. Burstein said. The commissioner also answered viewer questions.

Drantch asked on behalf of a viewer, “If I get coronavirus, am I immune afterward?”

"Well, what science believes right now is that there is some level of protected immunity. It really hasn’t been out long enough to know about the level of effectiveness and the durability, the duration of protection," Dr. Burstein said.

"Somebody was asking, 'If I get the flu shot, does that work against the coronavirus?' " Drantch asked on behalf of another viewer.

Dr. Burstein answered, "No, those are completely separate viruses.”

Two to four weeks behind downstate, that’s what Dr. Burstein said about Western New York. As for when the peak will definitively hit, Dr. Burstein said experts at UB's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences are feverishly working to get models completed.

“People are making predictions, they’re just estimations and we won’t know until it actually happens," she said.

7 Eyewitness News will continue to ask the experts for answers to your questions. You can send your COVID-19 questions here.