BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — As Western New York's COVID positivity rate remains at a statewide high, so too do hospitalizations. The County reports that 72% of all Erie County beds are occupied which is 72% higher than three weeks ago. The rates, according to the state, are actually higher than what the Western New York region experienced during the first wave of COVID last year, and the highest since February. One of those hospitals taking in more patients is ECMC.
"We are very full, very full," Dr. Samuel Cloud said, "as are most hospitals in Erie County."
ECMC Emergency Physician Dr. Samuel Cloud says hospitals are equipped to handle this a year into the pandemic. This spike, he says, has been unique regardless of preparedness.
"Since the middle of March we started seeing an increase in younger, sicker patients than we had been seeing in January and February," Dr. Cloud said, "The average age is in the 50's now where in the beginning, last March, it was the 70's. Even people in their 20's now are hospitalized unfortunately."
Dr. Cloud says this could be due to the relaxing of mask wearing and the introduction of more variants of the virus.
"Hopefully we are at the peak of this now third wave."
He says the best way to combat the rising hospitalization numbers is simple, get more people vaccinated.
"Please do (get vaccinated) so that we can get this under control and headed back down to the numbers we saw last summer."