BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The COVID-19 positivity rate in Erie County has jumped to five percent - an 80 percent increase in a week, county officials announced Wednesday afternoon.
The rolling seven-day average for the entire Western New York region is 2.4 percent.
On Tuesday, 167 new cases were reported to Erie County. There have been 11 COVID-related deaths in the county since October 26, the highest number of deaths in months, according to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
"Our testing results are reflective of our communities behavior," said Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein.
All but one of the deaths were residents 70 and over.
Dr. Burstein says schools are the biggest contributor to the surge, accounting for a third of all new cases. A total of 215 student and staff cases were reported between October 4 and today, with grade schools of particular concern.
The cases are across the county and not isolated to specific areas, she said.
Despite the spike in numbers, Burstein says Erie County does not meet the criteria to be placed in a state red zone, which would ban mass gatherings, force all schools to be fully remote, and place greater restrictions on restaurants, retail establishments and houses of worship.