Erie County sees uptick in COVID-19 cases. Is another wave coming?

·3 min read

A recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Erie County could be an anomaly, but also could signal a new wave of infections this summer.

That's the prediction of Howard Nadworny, M.D., a Saint Vincent Hospital infectious diseases specialist and adviser to the Erie County Department of Health.

"It's possible we are about to see an increase over the next month when we start getting new variants," said Nadworny, referring to the highly contagious omicron variants, BA.4 and BA.5. "We know they're going to be coming here, so it may be that that's what the numbers are telling us."

Those numbers show Erie County reporting 281 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 between June 20-26, a rise of nearly 50 cases from the previous week, according to data from both the county and state departments of health.

The county averaged 40 new cases daily between June 20-26, compared to 32 the previous week.

Nadworny said he wasn't sure whether this signaled a coming surge or simply represented a week that bucked recent trends, in which new cases had been declining.

This is a Sept. 10, 2010 photo of Howard Nadworny, M.D., a Saint Vincent Hospital infectious diseases specialist.
This is a Sept. 10, 2010 photo of Howard Nadworny, M.D., a Saint Vincent Hospital infectious diseases specialist.

Variants a concern:Erie County sees drop in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations but new variants a slight concern

The latest data from the state Department of Health showed 18 COVID-19 patients in Erie County hospitalized, which is lower than the county's moving average of 29 hospitalizations in the first half of June. Nine patients are in the ICU and one is on a ventilator as of Wednesday's report.

Five deaths related to COVID-19 occurred between June 10-15, increasing the total death count in Erie County to 821, according to the county health department.

"I don't know whether this represents the beginning of the next wave," Nadworny said, "but I would say we still have a moderate amount of COVID in Erie."

As the Fourth of July holiday weekend arrives, Nadworny said being outdoors and around others who are healthy will limit risk of infection.

“If you really don’t want to get COVID, or your risk of getting bad COVID is high, wear a mask, especially when you are indoors or in close groups of people," he said. "It’s still the single-best way to reduce your risk of getting infected."

Erie County is still at a low COVID-19 Community Level, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The county health department recommended the following:

  • Get all recommended COVID-19 vaccine and booster doses, for 5 years and older, including those who are pregnant and plan on becoming pregnant.

  • Anyone may choose to mask at any time, regardless of vaccination status.

  • If you are (or live, work or have contact with someone who is) at high risk for severe illness or have a weak immune system, consider masking indoors and rapid testing before gatherings.

  • Get tested if you have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19.

  • Wear a mask if you have symptoms, positive test results, or have been exposed to COVID-19.

  • Stay home while waiting for test results. If you have positive test results, even if you don’t have symptoms, stay home and apart from others in your home and, if possible, use a separate bathroom; inform your close contacts to stay home and get tested.

  • Maintain improved ventilation throughout indoor spaces when possible.

Free vaccines and boosters are available for residents of Erie County. For a list of local vaccine sites, visit

For a list of local testing sites offering free tests, visit

A.J. Rao can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @ETNRao.

This article originally appeared on Erie Times-News: COVID-19 in Erie County: A recent uptick in cases could signal a surge