Tuesday, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz called an unscheduled briefing to say said he expected an announcement to be made regarding a possible change in the county’s yellow zone on Wednesday according to WIVB-TV.

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“The conversations I’ve had with the governor’s office indicate that an announcement will be made Wednesday on a determination as to what portions of the yellow zone will enter orange, or for that matter red,” Poloncarz said. “And I also believe there is a significant chance that areas currently not in the yellow zone will be added to the yellow zone starting (Wednesday).”

Poloncarz said last week...

Elma (11.8%), North Collins (11.6%), Boston (11.5%), and Derby (10.9%) were the communities with the highest coronavirus testing positivity rates in the county. Of those four areas, only Elma is currently in the yellow zone.

Tuesday marked almost two weeks that the 7-day rolling average of Erie County’s positivity rate was above 3% and one of the Governor's target metrics for an area to move to an orange zone is at least 10 straight days above the 3% mark.

Areas with a rolling average above 4% for at least 10 days can be moved to red zone status. Erie County’s rate has been above 4% for nine straight days, as of Tuesday 11/17/20.

Dr. John Crane, an infectious disease expert at the University at Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Medicine, said the purpose of greater restrictions is to help drive down numbers.

“I think it could,” Crane said. “But remember when restrictions go into place, it takes about two weeks before we see the first indications that the restrictions are starting to work.”

Orange zone restrictions would force some non-essential businesses to close and schools to go fully remote for at least four days.  Restaurants under the orange classification would be prohibited from hosting indoor dining. Red zone restrictions require all remaining non-essential businesses to shut down, with restaurants at that point reverting back to take-out or delivery only.

None of these options particularly appealing to any area that is still reeling from previous shutdowns and other safety-related actions.