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7th person dies from Covid-19 in WNY as total cases jump to 362

More than 362 Western New Yorkers have tested positive for Covid-19, as hospitalizations begin to increase. And another Erie County resident died, a woman in her 40s, bringing to seven the number of deaths in the region.

The number of Erie County coronavirus patients in intensive care nearly tripled to 20.

It's just the beginning.

“I think that we are still at the beginning of our uptick," said Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein. "I mean, we haven’t even nearly reached our peak and we’re going to see more and more numbers. We’re going to see more people hospitalized. We’re going to unfortunately see more deaths.”

"There were 89 NEW positive cases in total today," County Executive Mark Poloncarz tweeted Friday night."Our total positives cases is now 310, though in good news, 27 have recovered."

Niagara County added nine new Covid-19 cases, the county's largest one-day increase so far. Cattaraugus County became the last of the eight counties in Western New York to report its first confirmed Covid-19 case. Statewide, 519 people have died of Covid-19 as of late Friday morning.

In the meantime, the region's emergency departments at hospitals have seen a drop in patients, likely because of people afraid to come in contact with the virus. Will they soon be full? Just in case, the county is looking to fill the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center with 1,000 hospital beds.

The Buffalo Niagara region's economic front was dealt more blows. All nonessential construction across the state was ordered to halt. New Era Cap Co. also announced it was furloughing roughly 70% of its 600 employees across the country, including employees at the company's Buffalo headquarters.

Despite it all, Buffalonians found ways to shine.  Restaurateur Russell Salvatore serenaded shut-ins via Facebook, and golfers flocked to courses, albeit with some new social-distancing restrictions.

Then there are those who are so bored they're wandering around home improvement stores, just because they're open.

In New York City, where National Guard members set up a field hospital in the middle of Manhattan, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, like a modern day Henry V calling on his band of brothers, thanked them for their service. And he offered a rallying call to all New Yorkers: "So I say my friends, we go out there today and we kick coronavirus’ ass."

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