Erie County, NY COVID-19 Update & Rumor Control

The information on this page was last updated 02/18/2020. More current information can be found here


COVID-19 is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person to person. This virus was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. The current risk of contracting the virus in the United States remains low. 

The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is working closely with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local healthcare providers and facilities to follow this virus. 

Currently, there are no confirmed cases in Erie County. Confirmed cases will be promptly reported to the public. This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation. To stay up-to-date on information, please go to the CDC  COVID-19 website.  

The uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 has led to misinformation and rumors on the internet and social media regarding the virus. It is critical that residents rely on the following trusted and reliable health sources of information regarding COVID-19.

Please note that Influenza (Flu) is actively occurring in our area.  It’s not too late to get your flu vaccination (Flu Vaccine Locator). 

Residents should take the following steps every day to avoid spreading respiratory illnesses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.  Click here for various handwashing education materials.  
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 
  • More Ways to Prevent COVID-19 Spread in Communities


RUMOR: People in Erie County, NY have tested positive for the COVID-19 and are being isolated.    

Answer: False. There are no laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 anywhere in Erie County, NY.  Confirmed cases will be promptly reported to the public should they occur.  Imported cases in travelers have been detected in the U.S.  Person-to-person spread of COVID-19 has been seen among close contacts of returned travelers from Wuhan, but at this time, this virus is NOT currently spreading in the community in the United States. See the current U.S. case count of infection with 2019-nCoV

RUMOR: I should wear a mask to protect myself from the COVID-19. 

Answer: False. The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory viruses, including COVID-19. For additional information on the prevention and treatment of coronavirus, visit the CDC web page here. 

RUMOR: People traveling to the U.S. from China are spreading novel coronavirus. 

Answer: False. The U.S. government is taking unprecedented steps to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S.  CDC is working with public health partners to implement new travel procedures announced in a Presidential Proclamation on Novel Coronavirus

In summary:

  1. Foreign nationals who have visited China in the past 14 days may not enter the United States.
  2. American citizens, lawful permanent residents, and their families who have been in China in the past 14 days will be allowed to enter the United States, but will be redirected to one of 11 airports to undergo health screening. Depending on their health and travel history, they will have some level of restrictions on their movements for 14 days from the time they left China. 

For complete details see the CDC web page on Travelers from China Arriving in the United States

RUMOR: My doctor/healthcare provider should test me for COVID-19. 

Answer: Possibly.  If you meet the current requirements for testing, your healthcare professional would work with the ECDOH to determine if you need to be tested for 2019-nCoV. See Frequently Asked Questions About Monitoring and Movement Restrictions 

RUMOR: I should not accept packages or products shipping from China. 

Answer:  Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases in the U.S. associated with imported goods. Information will be provided on the CDC COVID-19 website as it becomes available.

Frequently Requested



Phone: (716) 858-7690

Fax: (716) 858-8701

Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH)
95 Franklin Street
Buffalo, New York 14202

ECDOH Locations