Erie County leaders concerned about uptick in COVID cases in kids

summer camp kids' health
Posted at 5:12 PM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 17:17:56-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Erie County leaders said there is an increase in COVID cases in children.

"Youth ages 17 and younger it was more than double than what it was last week. It went from 43 cases to 98 cases," Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said.

Poloncarz and Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein said the uptick is largely being fueled by summer camps and schools.

"In July, we have seen more evidence of transmission in the summer schools and the camps than compared to what we saw during the school year," Dr. Burstein said.

Dr. Burstein said schools and summer camps are not taking well-known preventative measures like wearing masks.

"There's unvaccinated staff and many of them are not masking. They're not cohorting. They're not just staying in one group," Dr. Burstein said.

Dr. Burstein said the biggest problem is people aren't staying home when they're sick.

"Campers or students are coming into camp or school when they're sick. When you have symptoms, you have to stay home. This is why we're seeing transmission," Dr. Burstein said.

The State Health Department has yet to release COVID guidance for the upcoming school year. The State Education Department is advising schools follow the CDC guidance for masking, social distancing and testing.

"And then we are also working with all the school districts to offer them screening testing during the school year to help keep the schools open. We want the schools to be open and we are doing everything we can to work with the schools to make that happen," Dr. Burstein said.