Modified: December 28, 2021 5:19pm

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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 25, 2021, ECDOH received reports for 5,108 new COVID-19 cases among Erie County residents, a 47% increase from the previous week. Erie County’s COVID-19 case rate of 535 cases per 100,000 residents in the past seven days for the week ending December 18 is an increase from the previous week’s case rate of 364. 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.”

34% 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: 14203 (Buffalo, 23 cases), 14202 (Buffalo, 49 cases), 14222 (Buffalo, 109 cases), 14086 (Lancaster, 245 cases) and 14201 (Buffalo, 86 cases). The ZIP code 14221 had the highest total COVID-19 cases, with 312 cases. 

Contact tracing case investigations continue to note family and household clusters of COVID-19 cases. With the New Years holiday 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.

The 49,000 COVID-19 test reports received last week were an increase from the previous week’s total of about 42,800. ECDOH and health care providers within Erie County still have substantial diagnostic testing capacity. People who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, such as nasal congestion, runny nose, or sore throat, etc., 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 10.4%, up from 8.1% for the week ending December 18. Positivity rates increased in nearly all age groups. 20-39-year-olds had the highest number of COVID-19 cases last week, accounting for 46% of all cases last week. The highest number of cases occurred in the 20-29-year-old age group (1,257); the 30-39-year-old age group had the highest 7-day case rate per 100,000 persons, at 1,070.

School team reporting will resume next week. Cases managed by the epidemiology office’s school team declined in the past week as schools recessed for the holiday. 

With 250 COVID-19 hospitalizations reported in Erie County hospitals on December 26, 2021, the number of patients admitted to Erie County hospitals with COVID-19 has declined steadily over the past two weeks. [See chart at end of release]. 161 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 (64%) were not fully vaccinated. Among those patients, 43 (73%) of 59 patients admitted to the ICU were not fully vaccinated; and, 30 (70%) of 43 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.

COVID-19 mortality data for the last reporting period will be delayed due to the Christmas holiday.

COVID-19 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. 13-26, 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:


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