We just recently posted about Gov. Andrew Cuomo announcing new restrictions for areas reporting  “COVID clusters,” on Thursday he had a warning for Western New York to do better.

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“We have to do better in Western New York,” Cuomo said during a briefing with reporters. He later went on to say the “rules,” or, in this case, closures, “have been proven to work” to bring the infection rate down.

The Governor as reported on WIVB-TV recently called our region a hot spot, but  Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, commented that Cuomo’s new “COVID Action Initiative” is based on zip codes with clusters of cases and not a reflection of an entire region.

“We’re not like the other parts of New York State that have hot zones and the Governor is talking about shutting down – we are nowhere near that,” Poloncarz said.

While it's true that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Erie County are the highest they’ve been since mid-June, Poloncarz said that doesn’t necessarily mean those people were getting treatment for coronavirus complications but may be in the hospital for other reasons when routinely tested for the virus.

“A lot of folks that are listed in the hospital are there for a surgery, or they had a heart attack and were tested in the hospital and determined to be positive,” he explained. “They weren’t ill with COVID, but we’re worried about that because it means there’s a lot of community spread.”

The County Executive does stress that the Governor’s latest shut-down orders prove we must do everything we can here in Western New York to make sure we don’t regress and deal with business closings and restrictions that we faced in March.