ERIE COUNTY, NY – The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is making the following announcements.
Testing Criteria and Standing Isolation Orders
The Erie County Department of Health is updating its criteria for COVID-19 testing to include any person who has symptoms of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised its list of COVID-19 symptoms last week to include:
- Fever (100.4 degrees or higher)
- Shortness of breath
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
Testing and sample collection for symptomatic individuals are by appointment only. ECDOH is coordinating with Kaleida Health for COVID-19 testing. Individuals who do not have a primary care provider may be tested through the Erie County Public Health Lab. Individuals who have a primary care provider that can provide a referral or prescription for a COVID-19 test may be tested through Kaleida Health. To be screened and to be scheduled for a test, please call the Erie County COVID-19 Information Line at (716) 858-2929. Please listen closely to the options as they have recently changed.
ECDOH encourages anyone with COVID-19 symptoms to talk directly to their doctor about how to manage their care.
If you are tested for COVID-19 in Erie County, by Order of the Commissioner of Health you must remain in isolation until you have your results. Essential workers who are concerned their income during a period of isolation or quarantine for them or for a minor child should note that they may be eligible for paid leave programs through New York State or the United States Department of Labor. Each agency has information about their respective programs online. Each has different requirements and benefits; Erie County residents should review each one to see which is most appropriate for them.
- New York State: https://paidfamilyleave.ny.gov/COVID19
- U.S. DOL: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leave
Erie County Suspected Overdoses (2020)
ECDOH efforts to address the opioid epidemic in Erie County continue. Unfortunately, in March 2020 the Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office saw about one suspected overdose each day. Though these deaths cannot be confirmed as opioid-related overdoses until toxicology tests are complete, ECDOH is renewing its warning that the drugs that people are using may contain fentanyl.
ECDOH has free Narcan (naloxone) available to anyone who wants it. Distribution of this life-saving medication has been made more challenging by the COVID-19 pandemic. Call (716) 858-7695 for information and to arrange to receive a free Narcan kit. The Erie County Opiate Epidemic Task Force is also working with the Buffalo Police Department and other agencies to distribute Narcan throughout the community at grocery stores, food pantries and hotels.
ECDOH also reminds the community that the Buffalo and Erie County Addiction Hotline from Crisis Services is available 24/7 at (716) 831-7007. The Buffalo MATTERS program, which provides an immediate evaluation and access to buprenorphine for individuals seeking opioid treatment, can be accessed through all local hospital Emergency Departments. And, there is a smartphone app and hotline called Never Use Alone, which describes itself as a “life-saving point of contact for people who use drugs… there to help you in the event of an overdose.” Call (800) 484-3731 or download the app at neverusealone.com.
Thanks and Appreciation
ECDOH and Erie County are extending their appreciation to the New York State Department of Health and New York State for providing additional machines for our Public Health Lab. This equipment will support our efforts to expand COVID-19 testing capacity in our lab. We are also grateful for their regular shipments of sample collection supplies (nasopharyngeal swabs) and personal protective equipment (PPE). Those PPE shipments from NYS are being distributed to Erie County hospitals, nursing homes and first responders.
We are also thanking HEALTHeLINK for being an invaluable source of data for our epidemiology work, both for individual cases and for population health.
COVID-19 Case Data
As of 4/20/2020 (5 p.m.), ECDOH received a total of 2,221 reports of positive lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases and 162 COVID-19 related deaths among Erie County residents. Additional demographic information about positive cases and deaths was presented during today’s live video, and will be available on Youtube (www.youtube.com/eriecountyny). We are publishing these data to our online case mapping system at www.erie.gov/covidmap.