The hospitals are filling up their beds at a rapid pace, but it may not be a result of more illnesses in Western New York. The West Seneca town supervisor, Gary Dickson, believes it may be due to the hospitals having less rooms and units open, meaning that there are less beds available for sick patients.

Last week, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz instated an emergency order for a mask mandate in Erie County, but Gary Dickson says that this plan of action does not address the actual cause behind the lack of available hospital beds.

In a statement by the West Seneca town supervisor Gary Dickson responding to the Erie County mandate, Dickson said, ”Mask and vaccine mandates are counterproductive and abusive of residents’ rights.”

Dickson is urging the county executive to meet with local leaders to create a new plan that directly tackles the issue of limited hospital capacity -- instead of requiring masks and proof of vaccination status for the general public. 

Gary Dickson provided a chart with data in one of his recent Facebook posts.

You'll note that the number of occupied beds (orange column) has been remarkably constant over the past 16 months. What HAS changed in the past couple of months is the number of available beds (blue column), which has gone down by roughly ten percent. It is the PERCENTAGE (black line) that the county executive uses to justify mandates. If the hospitals had not lost capacity, they would not be stressed and NO MANDATES WOULD BE NEEDED. American Rescue Plan funds in the county budget should immediately be reprogrammed to expand hospital capacity and plans to fire hospital workers who do not want to be vaccinated should be IMMEDIATELY CANCELLED.”

The Town of Marilla supervisor Earl Gingerich has also denounced the Erie County mask mandate. Gingerich reportedly asked the Erie County Health Department to kindly steer clear of the Town of Marilla when it comes to enforcing the mask mandate.

The COVID-19 protocol in Erie County will be reassessed on December 13th.

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