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Lancaster neighbors question high number of COVID-19 cases

Posted at 5:13 PM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 19:31:03-05

Lancaster native Michele Sporysz questions the latest COVID-19 data putting her town at the top of the charts statewide for the second consecutive day.

According to Erie County Health Officials, it had a 9.68% positivity rate for November 22. That’s up from 9.1% on November 21.

"I’m concerned that because of certain pockets, like the nursing homes, that it’s skewing the numbers,” she said.

Last week, Erie County officials identified what it calls an outbreak at Greenfield Health and Rehabilitation, where it reported 12 cases for the week ending November 14.

In July, Greenfield was among the first nursing home facilities in the state to allow in-person visitation for its residents.

Harris Hill Nursing Facility in Lancaster was designated a COVID-19 facility by parent company, The McGuire Group, in May. That means any COVID positive patient from its five western New York facilities is transferred to Lancaster for care.

According to a McGuire spokeswoman, over the last three weeks, 54 patients have been transferred from Hamburg-based Autumn View to Harris Hill. 22 have already returned.

According, Lancaster Town Supervisor Ronald Ruffino, it's unclear whether nursing homes within the town are driving up the numbers.

“I don’t know how they’re drawing the numbers. As a matter of fact, I have a call into the governor’s office to give me some data. I want to see some raw data how they’re coming up with these numbers,” he said.

We too asked a spokesman for the governor’s office whether he believes nursing homes are responsible for the high numbers in Lancaster. He didn’t return our requests for information.

Neighbors like Michele Sporysz want answers, as well.

“I don’t want to be living in paranoia and I am really afraid. Lancaster is where I’ve been for many many years, and many of these places are owned by friends and family.”