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State: COVID-19 positivity rate rises to 1.9% in Western New York

Coronavirus-confirmed healthcare workers can return to work without being testing negative
Posted at 10:45 AM, Sep 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-03 18:55:07-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — On Thursday morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a 1.9% positivity rate for COVID-19 in Western New York on Wednesday.

The rate is the percentage of positive tests out of all tests administered in the region, which includes Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany counties.

The positivity rate for Western New York is almost double the statewide rate of 0.99%.

"Western New York is not good news," Governor Cuomo said when announcing the updated numbers during a conference call Thursday morning.

This week, New York State Department of Health teams conducted rapid testing at several sites throughout the region. In all, Cuomo says 6,400 tests were performed. The following results are from only the rapid testing sites, not all testing locations overall:

  • 4.5% in Chautauqua County
  • 2.8% in Niagara County
  • 2.3% in Erie County, excluding Buffalo
  • 5.9% in the City of Buffalo

Overall, the 6,400 rapid tests delivered a 4% positivity rate. However, Cuomo stressed this is not a random sample, saying, "these are people who think they may have the virus and that's why they come in."

Still, Governor Cuomo urged Western New Yorkers to take the overall positivity rate seriously.

“This is a very serious situation and I hope the people of WNY take this very seriously,” Cuomo said, "people have to realize that if they don’t follow social distancing precautions, the virus will increase.”

New York State is willing to help local governments enforce compliance with mask and social distancing guidelines if needed.