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COVID-19 hospitalizations increase in Erie County

There were 98 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Aug. 20
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Posted at 11:08 PM, Aug 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-22 23:18:46-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations across Erie County.

“Presently this a pandemic primarily of the unvaccinated and the safest means to get out of this mess is to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Dr. Thomas Russo from the UB Jacobs School of Medicine said.

Dr. Russo said the delta variant is to blame.

“The delta variant has been assisted by our summer festivities. However, this is not the time for risky behavior," Dr. Russo said. "Especially for the unvaccinated which still represents a significant minority of individuals here in Erie County and Western New York."

According to County Executive Mark Poloncarz on August 20 Erie County hospitals had 98 COVID-19 patients, up 16 from August 19 and up 41 from August 6. Dr. Russo said getting vaccinated will decrease your chances of hospitalization significantly.

“Hospitalization on the order of 93 to 95 percent and even about 80 percent for the combination of asymptotic and symptomatic infections," Dr. Russo said. "Our vaccines are getting it done and are our ticket out of this pandemic,."

Of those hospitalized in the county, 18 of them are in the ICU and 11 are on airway assist. Just over half of those hospitalized are 64 or younger.

“Those who are unvaccinated, beware. The delta variant is extraordinarily transmissible, it will find you, and if you become infected, the consequences are unpredictable,” Dr. Russo said.

Dr. Russo said getting vaccinated is the best way to fight the delta variant.

“Although prior infection may provide some protection against the delta variant, the amount of protection is unpredictable,” Dr. Russo said.

He said right now, wearing a mask, vaccinated or not, in crowded public spaces, is recommended.

“The use of masks, which have been unequivocally shown to decrease the number of infections, is critically important during this surge of the delta variant,” Dr. Russo said.