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Cuomo visits Buffalo, discusses COVID hospitalizations, vaccine mandate proposal

There's been a lot of debate over Erie County's plan of requiring Bills and Sabres fans to be vaccinated to attend home games next season.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — For weeks, 2 On Your Side has been reporting on rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations locally.

On Thursday, there were nearly 350 people hospitalized in Western New York with the virus, the highest that number has been since early February.

"Recently, we have seen an increase and it is concerning Western New York. We have seen again, hospitalizations up and down, but we have seen an increase," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday at the Northland Training Center in Buffalo. 

The governor did not announce any new restrictions. We wanted to ask whether the state is eyeing any possible cluster zones, but we weren't called upon in the governor's Q-and-A session.

Cuomo urges people to take personal responsibility to get the numbers down.

"We got the number down once because Western New York was at a high point once before, we got the number down once, we can get the number down again we just have to choose to do it," he said. 

Statewide the curfew on bars and restaurants will go from 11 p.m. to midnight on Monday. For catered events, the curfew will move from midnight to 1 a.m.

"If we continue to make progress then we will continue to relax the regulations," Cuomo said.

The governor also talked about Erie County's plan of requiring Bills and Sabres fans to be vaccinated to attend home games next season.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says the county can do this, because the county runs Highmark Stadium and KeyBank Center.

"Legally, whether it's county property or city property or private property doesn't matter the state has to approve the regulation," Cuomo said. "My basic point is, I'm not going to try to guess what's going to happen months from now, and what should be the best policy be months from now.

"We'll find out what the facts are at that time, and we'll make a determination on the facts."

As for the latest COVID data, Western New York has the highest positivity rate in the state at 4.9 percent.


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