Modified: December 21, 2021 4:48pm

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ERIE COUNTY, NY – The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is providing an update on COVID-19 data. For the week ending December 18, 2021, ECDOH received reports for 3,472 new COVID-19 cases among Erie County residents, a 20% decrease from the previous week. This is the second consecutive week of declining cases. Erie County’s COVID-19 case rate of 364 cases per 100,000 residents in the past seven days for the week ending December 18 is a decrease from the previous week’s case rate of 455. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) set a case rate threshold of 100 or more cases per 100,000 residents in the past seven days for a community to be considered to have “high transmission.”

33% of new COVID-19 cases last week were among city of Buffalo residents. For reference, city of Buffalo residents make up 29% of all Erie County residents. This past week the ZIP codes with the highest seven-day case rates per 100,000 persons were: 14202 (Buffalo, 30 cases), 14034 (Collins, 17 cases), 14141 (Springville, 44 cases), 14006 (Angola, 54 cases) and 14210 (Buffalo, 80 cases). The small population of some of these ZIP codes can be impacted by a relatively small number of new COVID-19 cases.

Contact tracing case investigations continue to note family and household clusters of COVID-19 cases. With the holiday season approaching, ECDOH encourages people who plan to gather with friends and family to stay home and away from others if ill. Also, COVID-19 testing is a tool to make sure you know your COVID-19 status before small gatherings, especially if other guests are elderly, have chronic medical or immunocompromising conditions, are pregnant, or unvaccinated.

Just under 43,000 COVID-19 test reports were received last week, a decrease from the previous week’s total. ECDOH and health care providers within Erie County still have substantial diagnostic testing capacity. People who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, should strongly consider a diagnostic COVID-19 test. The New York State Department of Health maintains a list of testing locations. ECDOH created a list of community COVID-19 testing resources for parents and caregivers. Free COVID-19 tests are available through ECDOH by calling 716-858-2929 to schedule an appointment. Appointments are required for COVID-19 testing through ECDOH. Wait times for ECDOH appointment telephone line are longest in the morning. Callers may choose to call after 10 a.m. if they want to avoid a wait.

The weekly positivity rate was 8.1%, down from 9.0% for the week ending December 11. Positivity rates declined in nearly all age groups. For all cases under age 18, the positivity percentage was 8.9%; for all case ages 18 years and older, the positivity percentage was 7.9%. These higher positivity rates for children may reflect lower relative numbers of tests in these age groups, and a higher likelihood that symptomatic children and adolescents will seek a COVID-19 test for return to school purposes. The 20-29-year-old age group had the highest number of COVID-19 cases last week; the 30-39-year-old age group had the highest 7-day case rate per 100,000 persons, at 627.

For children under age 18 years, case totals decreased from the previous week by about 25%, in line with the 20% decrease in countywide cases.

The school team in the ECDOH Office of Epidemiology is managing a large volume of cases among k-12 students and school staff, though lower than the previous four weeks. Data for the week ending December 11 are incomplete* because official test reports are pending.


With 344 COVID-19 hospitalizations reported in Erie County hospitals on December 19, 2021, the number of patients admitted to Erie County hospitals with COVID-19 has declined over the past two weeks. [See chart at end of release]. 232 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 (67%) were not fully vaccinated. Among those patients, 47 (67%) of 70 patients admitted to the ICU were not fully vaccinated; and, 40 (74%) of 54 patients with an airway assist were not fully vaccinated. Vaccines work to reduce the risk of serious illness and hospitalization. The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) publishes statewide data for COVID-19 cases over time by vaccination status, and daily hospital admissions over time by vaccination status.                                                           

ECDOH is reporting COVID-19 mortality data. ECDOH received reports of 34 COVID-19 associated deaths in the past seven days; all reports but one were from December. Total COVID-19-related deaths from March 2020 to December 16, 2021 now stand at 2,289, with 1,013 reported in 2021. CDC publishes national rates of COVID-19 related cases, hospitalizations and deaths by vaccination status at         

Through December 20, 28.8% of 5-11-year-olds in Erie County have at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Additional data, including vaccination estimates by ZIP code, are posted to the ECDOH web site. NYSDOH also updates vaccination data by demographics, by county and by ZIP code.                                                   

ECDOH has an active schedule of COVID-19 vaccine clinics, listed at Additional clinics have been added throughout the county through January 28, 2022. Clinics for 5-11-year-olds are listed at ECDOH will also vaccinate any eligible Erie County resident at their home. Call (716) 858-2929 for the “Vax Visit” program.

ECDOH encourages Erie County residents who are not fully vaccinated to begin their COVID-19 vaccine series. COVID-19 vaccination is especially important for youth and families attending school or child care.

Following recent FDA authorization for COVID-19 vaccine booster doses for 16- and 17-year-olds, ECDOH vaccine clinics will provide a COVID-19 booster dose to anyone age 16 years and older as long as enough time has elapsed from their initial series completion (6 months for Pfizer and Moderna; 2 months for J&J). ECDOH encourages people to review the recommended booster eligibility criteria, evaluate their risk factors and talk to their own physician with questions.

Recently, the CDC and FDA have recommended that mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna are preferable to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, including for a booster dose. NYSDOH has further information about booster doses.

Chart: Erie County Hospitalization Data, last two weeks (Dec. 6-19, 2021).
Data Sources: New York State Department of Health and Erie County hospitals



ECDOH, COVID-19 vaccine info & clinic schedule:

ECDOH, COVID-19 Information Line: (716) 858-2929 – foreign language interpretation available

ECDOH, COVID-19 Weekly Data Updates:

New York State Department of Health, COVID-19 Boosters: