It has been 11 days and counting since Erie County last reported a death due to COVID-19.
The county’s pause in COVID-19 deaths, its longest since a 15-day gap from Oct. 22-Nov. 5, is partly due to all the people vaccinated against COVID-19, said Howard Nadworny, M.D., a Saint Vincent Hospital infectious diseases specialist and Erie County Department of Health adviser.
Credit also goes to area hospitals for the way they treat the sickest COVID patients.
“It’s encouraging because the lack of deaths indicates that people at higher risk of complications are getting vaccinated, though not at the numbers we really need,” Nadworny said. “Also, we are getting better at treating very sick COVID patients and preventing them from getting blood clots and overwhelming pneumonia.”
Nadworny specifically said hospitals have improved their respiratory therapies that help COVID-19 patients breathe more easily.
Erie County on Monday reported 19 new cases of COVID-19 and no additional deaths due to the new coronavirus.
Erie County has 20,492 total cases of COVID-19, 462 deaths and 70,760 negative tests since the pandemic started. No COVID-19 deaths have been reported in the county since April 29.
Nadworny said the amount of COVID-19 virus found in samples taken from the Erie Wastewater Treatment Plant showed a decline from an estimated 80 cases a day the week of April 27 to 50 cases last week.
There was not enough virus present in the most recent samples to test for variants, though Nadworny said he believes almost all local COVID-19 cases are the B.1.1.7 variant.
Fifty-seven new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the county Saturday and 19 new cases were reported Sunday, according to the Erie County Department of Health.
Twenty-two patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized in the county Monday morning, including four who needed ventilators, the county reported.
At least 22,149 county residents are partially vaccinated against COVID-19 and 95,329 are fully vaccinated, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.