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Local leaders in East Aurora concerned about high number of positive COVID-19 cases

Posted at 4:20 AM, May 08, 2020

EAST AURORA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Local leaders in East Aurora are concerned about a relatively high number of positive COVID-19 cases in a small town.

As of Thursday evening, there are 202 confirmed cases of COVID-19 cases in the Town of Aurora, which includes the Village of East Aurora , which has a population of roughly 14,000 people.

By contrast, the City of Buffalo has fewer than 1,600 cases for a population of around a quarter-million people.

Popular spots like the Aurora Theatre are closed as part of the focus on social distancing, while Bar Bill Tavern is open for takeout.

Officials say the majority of new cases came from the state reporting nursing home numbers, including those at Absolut Care at Aurora Park on Main Street.

"Cases in the Town of Aurora (includes Village) have increased dramatically causing us great concern," town leaders wrote on the Town of Aurora Emergency Management Facebook page. "Data tracking from the county is not breaking cases down between the general population vs nursing homes. Supervisor Bach reached out to Absolut Care this morning (320 bed facility) for assistance in understanding our numbers. Their new administrator (under recent new ownership) responded quickly and shed light on our recent increase in COVID numbers."

Here is the rest of the Facebook post:
"There are 99 positive cases of patients at the facility, with 75% of them being asymptomatic (it is believed the first patient was released to them from the hospital on April 6th and then tested positive for COVID). There are 68 staff members and 33 have been tested. Of those tested, 20 were positive, 1 is in the ICU, and the remaining tests are pending. The new owners are working diligently to turn the facility around and Erie County Health Department has deemed them deficiency free. We are grateful their new Administrator is assisting the Town in understanding our numbers and that they are dedicated to turning the facility around from the shortcomings of the prior ownership."

East Aurora Police Chief Shane Krieger said the recent uptick is because of new test results at a nursing home, not the lack of an open container law, which was mentioned at a recent Village Board meeting.

"So that accounts for half the positive tests in our town," Krieger said of the nursing home numbers. "To clarify the jump, it was just because of the more testing being done at the nursing home."

Click here to watch a video of Krieger's statement.