Feb. 23, 2021
Covid-19 numbers continue to fall, but arrival of new UK variant poses worries
The Western New York region and Erie County continue to see steady declines in the percentage of people testing positive for Covid-19 and the number of people being hospitalized with the virus, but the identification of a more infectious U.K. variant of the coronavirus in Erie County presents a new worry.
County Executive Mark Poloncarz said Tuesday that last week's positive test rate of 4.3% was the lowest in Erie County since October. The region's average positive test rate has remained below 3% for several days.
"So we've gotten through the fall and winter, and we are headed in the right direction," Poloncarz said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo also stated Tuesday that "the light at the end of the tunnel is brighter and brighter each day."
But a few developments poked a hole in the otherwise positive picture.
The latest map and statistics: Covid-19 statistics from state and county departments of health, as well as new data from The New York Times' national Covid-19 tracking project. Read more
Cuomo: First cases of UK variant of coronavirus identified in Erie County: The two Erie County U.K. cases were among 18 new cases found in New York State, bringing the state's total of the U.K. variant cases to 154. Read more
New vaccine appointments open at 8 a.m. Wednesday for many eligible Buffalo residents: New York State and the federal government are teaming up to host a month-long pop-up vaccination clinic at the Delavan-Grider Community Center, 877 East Delavan Ave., in Buffalo, starting March 3. Read more
Some Covid-19 restrictions remain on nursing home visits under new guidelines: Families are upset that they still aren't allowed to have contact visits with relatives in nursing homes. Read more
Feds: school assessments must go on despite pandemic: State assessments of school children must go on to the extent possible in the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education announced Monday. Read more
Superintendents association wants input with state ed on fully reopening schools: Pressure to return students to the classroom five days a week has been mounting from all corners, including the White House. Read more
Biden and Trudeau meet – but don't publicly discuss border closure: As expected, the two leaders bemoaned the pandemic, vowed to rebuild their respective economies and fight climate change and otherwise left residents of border communities such as Buffalo and Fort Erie wondering when and how the border travel restrictions will be loosened or lifted. Read more
Can't get to the school library? No problem, e-books are the answer: The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library and schools are teaming up to offer students access to the library's e-books and audio books to broaden the materials available to them. Read more
Section VI, Monsignor Martin give schools options of hosting home fans at games: Host districts will have the prerogative to allow up to two home spectators per athlete in basketball and swimming. Because hockey, bowling and skiing are held in private facilities, the rules at each of those venues will be followed. Read more
UB seeks approval for limited attendance at remaining home basketball games: “We’re looking at an opportunity for students to come to a game,” UB athletic director Mark Alnutt told The News. Read more