ERIE COUNTY, NY – The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is providing an update on COVID-19 data. For the week ending October 16, 2021, ECDOH received reports for 1,818 new COVID-19 cases among Erie County residents, a 1.7% decrease from the previous week. This is the first week since July 2021 that the weekly total COVID-19 cases declined from the previous week. Erie County’s COVID-19 case rate of 191 cases per 100,000 residents in the past seven days for the week ending October 16 is a decrease from the previous week’s case rate of 194. 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.”

29% 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 in the Southtowns: 14141 (Springville, 32 cases), 14057 (Eden, 30 cases), 14072 (Grand Island, 68 cases), 14086 (Lancaster, 68 cases) and 14085 (Lake View, 19 cases). Please note that these ZIP codes have small populations, and that can significantly influence case rates.

With about 43,000 COVID-19 test reports for last week, there was a slight decline in test reports from the previous week. ECDOH and health care providers within Erie County still have substantial diagnostic testing capacity. People who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, should strongly consider a diagnostic COVID-19 test. This includes p-12 students and school staff who need a diagnostic COVID-19 NAAT test to return to school or work. ECDOH created a list of community COVID-19 testing resources for parents and caregivers. School staff and students with a negative COVID-19 NAAT test result do not need to provide a doctor’s note to return to school if they do not have a fever (afebrile) and symptoms are improving.

Free COVID-19 NAAT tests are available through ECDOH by calling 716-858-2929 to schedule an appointment. Appointments are required for COVID-19 testing. 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. Other test sites are listed through the NYSDOH web site.

Most COVID-19 cases continue to be in the 20-29 and 30-39-year-old age groups. For children under age 18 years, case totals were nearly the same as the previous week: 404 cases for the week ending October 16, compared to 406 for the week ending October 9.      

The school team in the ECDOH Office of Epidemiology is managing a steady number of cases among k-12 students and school staff. Data for weeks ending October 9 and October 16 are incomplete* because official test reports are pending. ECDOH continues to note that approximately 85% of cases contacted in the 12-17-year-old group are not fully vaccinated prior to infection. About 50% of all children ages 12-17-years-old in Erie County are fully vaccinated as of this writing. Therefore, 50% of the unvaccinated 12-17-year-old population account for 85% of the COVID-19 cases confirmed among this age group.

ECDOH reviewed COVID-19 cases in infants and children under age 5 years for the period of July through September 2021. Of the parents or caregivers for these cases interviewed through contact tracing, 43% attended day care, with a trend of a higher proportion of cases attending day care over time – 55% in the month of September.

With 124 COVID-19 hospitalizations reported in Erie County hospitals on October 17, 2021, the number of patients admitted to Erie County hospitals with COVID-19 has ranged from a low of 123 hospitalizations to a high of 147 hospitalizations over the past two weeks [See chart at end of release]. Of 124 patients with known vaccination status, 84 (68%) were not fully vaccinated; 20 (71%) of 28 ICU patients were not fully vaccinated; and, 15 (83%) of 18 patients with an airway assist were not fully vaccinated. The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) published statewide data for COVID-19 cases over time by vaccination status, and daily hospital admissions over time by vaccination status. 

ECDOH is reporting COVID-19 mortality data. ECDOH received reports of 24 COVID-19 associated deaths in the past seven days. Total COVID-19-related deaths from March 2020 to October 14, 2021 now stand at 2,062, with 786 reported in 2021. One COVID-19-associated death was removed from mortality data from September, as COVID-19 was ruled out as a contributing cause of death. CDC publishes national rates of COVID-19 related cases, hospitalizations and deaths by vaccination status at

With data compiled by the ECDOH epidemiology office through October 18 and based on 2020 U.S. Census population estimates, 73.1% of Erie County residents ages 18 years and older received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and 68.9% of Erie County residents ages 18 years and older completed a vaccine series. For the 16-17-year-old age group, 59.9% received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Additional data, including 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, and 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. Third COVID-19 Pfizer or Moderna vaccine doses for people with moderately or severely immunocompromising conditions are available at any Erie County COVID-19 vaccine clinic. ECDOH also offers Pfizer booster vaccine doses for eligible individuals at all clinics that offer Pfizer vaccine. NYSDOH has further information about Pfizer booster doses.

Chart: Erie County Hospitalization Data, last two weeks (October 4-October 17, 2021)

Data Sources: New York State Department of Health and Erie County hospitals