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Buffalo's St. Patrick's Day parades on despite COVID-19 concerns

Buffalo's two St. Patrick's Day parades are still on for this weekend amid growing concerns about the spread of COVID-19.

Both the Old Neighborhood Parade set for Saturday in the Old First Ward and the city's main parade that runs down Delaware Avenue on Sunday are set to go on as of now, according to organizers and Mayor Byron W. Brown.

Dublin and Boston already have canceled their parades out of an abundance of caution.

Brown told reporters at a news conference late this morning that the status of the parades could change if the Buffalo area sees its first confirmed case of novel coronavirus.

"That would be extremely concerning, and we would have to evaluate that if that in fact did occur," Brown said. "But a confirmed case absolutely would be the tipping point."

The region continues to host large-scale, public events, such as Monday night's Buffalo Sabres-Washington Capitals contest at KeyBank Center, and Brown noted other international conferences are coming up in addition to the parades.

He said the city continues to monitor the situation, with input from medical officials, and he urged the public to take basic steps to ensure their own good health.

"What I'm encouraging people to do is do an elbow bump as opposed to shaking hands right now," Brown said. "During the course of any given day I might shake hundreds of peoples' hands. Right now I'm recommending to people not to shake hands at this time just do the warm, friendly elbow bump."

News Staff Reporter Deidre Williams contributed to this report.

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