WNY virus infection rate rises again

The up-and-down nature of Western New York's COVID-19 positivity rate swung back in the up direction again on Wednesday, according to the latest testing numbers released by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office. 

Results released by Cuomo's office on Thursday showed the region's rate of infection climbing to 1.5% on Wednesday, up from 1.1% a day earlier. 

The Niagara County Health Department on Thursday reported eight more positive cases. As of Thursday, there were 47 active cases, including 44 individuals who are isolating at home and three who have been hospitalized. There have now been a total of 1,687 positive cases countywide since the start of the pandemic.  

Of the positive cases, the county's tracking system shows Niagara Falls has had the highest volume with 416, followed by the City of Lockport with 170 and North Tonawanda, which has had 205. Among the villages and towns, Wheatfield has had the highest number of cases with 191, with Newfane following at 182. 

There have been 101 COVID-19-related deaths in the county to date. The number has remained steady since late August. 

To date, 83,332 people have been tested in the county, health officials said. 

New York state's infection rate remained below 1%, according to Cuomo who said 0.98 of test results reported to the state on Wednesday were positive. 

"No community rose to the occasion like New Yorkers rose to the occasion. We went from the highest infection rate in the nation to one of the lowest infection rates in the nation. That's what the history books are going to say. That happened for one reason: Because New Yorkers stepped up and were loving and believed in community and cared for one another," Cuomo said. "Now our calibration is between managing COVID and managing reopening. We don't want to see the COVID infection rate go over one percent for any period of time, and we are right up against it. There is no margin for error here - this pandemic is far from over: Everyone must keep washing their hands, socially distancing and wearing their masks, and above all, staying New York tough." 

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