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Erie County's Covid-19 death toll rises above 100, capping deadliest two days so far

The last two days, with 40 deaths reported, have been the deadliest so far in Erie County during the Covid-19 pandemic.

County officials announced 28 of the 40 deaths on Tuesday, bringing the county's death toll to 101 since the start of the pandemic.

"I just received some very sad news: Erie County's total number of deaths from the #Coronavirus pandemic has risen to 101," Poloncarz Tweeted Tuesday night. "It went up so much from 2 days ago because @ECDOH received confirmation of 31 deaths that occurred since 4/10 that we had not known about previously."

A spokesperson for the county's Department of Health confirmed Tuesday night that the total number of Covid-19 deaths in Erie County is currently at 101.

That figure is based on the most recent data that county officials have received from the state's Health Department, some of which includes the most updated information received from local nursing homes, assisted living facilities and area hospitals, the spokesperson said.

Further updates will continue to be posted as new information from the state becomes available and is shared with the county.

As the deaths mounted, County Executive Mark Poloncarz issued two executive orders Tuesday. One extended for five days an order originally issued Thursday that made it illegal for any business to bar entry to a customer who wore masks and gloves and required businesses to allow employees to wear that protective equipment.

Under the second order, all campgrounds in Erie County will be prohibited from opening as of 9 a.m. Wednesday. The order also prohibits the use of any "camping cabin, camping unit, campsite or seasonal campsite."

The order covers campgrounds, as defined by state law and which require a permit to operate, Poloncarz said.

"The nature of activity at campgrounds does not allow for the practice of effective social-distancing," according to the order.

The order remains in effect for five days and may be renewed in five-day increments.

The county Department of Health is required by law to make sure campgrounds follow state sanitary code, Poloncarz wrote on Twitter. "Unfortunately, we cannot review them now due to #COVID19 response and if we don't, they can't operate," Poloncarz tweeted.

In a written statement issued by his office, Poloncarz said the county's public health team "is already being stretched" and closing the campgrounds "makes better use of our resources and will help to protect our community."

Erie County's number of confirmed Covid-19 cases has reached 1,730, with 69 new cases reported Tuesday afternoon. Women account for nearly 54% of the confirmed cases, according to data released by the county Department of Health.

There were 11 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Niagara County announced Tuesday, bringing the county's total to 216. The county has 100 residents in isolation at home and 22 more hospitalized, Kevin Schuler, Niagara County's public information officer, said in a news release. To date, 89 people previously diagnosed with Covid-19 have recovered, Schuler said.

Erie County is planning to open a new temporary shelter for the homeless at Holy Cross, 412 Niagara St., county officials said. The site is already used as a "Code-19," or Code Blue, shelter during cold weather.

[Related: Where Western New York's coronavirus cases are, county by county]

[Related: Erie County's Covid-19 cases by town, date, age, gender]

[Related: Erie County's map of where Covid-19 cases are]

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