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COVID-19 ‘shot and a beer’ offered Friday

Get vaccines, discounted drinks at Lavery Brewing

David Bruce Erie Times-News USA TODAY NETWORK

Anyone 21 or older who has not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to receive a shot and a beer Friday.

The Erie County Department of Health is working with Lavery Brewing Co., 128 W. 12th St., to vaccinate people during the brewpub’s happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

“People who receive vaccine will be able to buy a deeply discounted draft beer,” said Melissa Lyon, county health department director. “It can’t be free because of various regulations.”

Friday’s event is one way the county health department is encouraging people to get vaccinated. The pace of vaccinations has slowed significantly in recent weeks.

Just more than half, 51.6%, of the county’s total population has received at least one dose, compared to the statewide rate of 62.9%.

Only a handful of people have sought vaccinations at recent mobile clinics the health department has held, Lyon said. “The 49% of people who aren’t vaccinated are still at risk of disease,” Lyon said. “And I’m concerned because the Delta variant is very transmissible and there are reports that children are more hardhit by this variant than the other ones.”

No cases of the Delta variant have been confirmed in Erie County but 39 cases have been found in Pennsylvania, and it’s “very likely” there are cases in the county, Lyon said.

Lyon is more encouraged by the current case counts and hospitalization numbers. Fewer than four cases have been reported each day since June 24 and only three county residents with COVID-19 were hospitalized Monday evening, according to the Pennsylvania

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Department of Health.

“I think the low numbers are due to half the people being vaccinated and the warmer weather allowing people to get outside, where the virus doesn’t spread as well,” Lyon said. “Still, we had a lot of holiday gatherings this weekend, so I want to wait a couple of weeks before I feel comfortable saying this is our new normal for the summer.”

The county has seen a decrease in newly confirmed cases for each of the past eight weeks. The number declined from 22 cases reported between June 18-24 to 13 cases between June 25-July 1, according to the state health dept.

The rest of the county’s weekly COVID-19 measurements:

h The incidence rate per 100,000 people dropped from 8.2 to 4.8.

h The COVID-19 test positivity rate rose from 1.5% to 1.7%.

h The average daily number of hospitalized

COVID-19 patients declined from

2.7 to 2.4.

h The average daily number of COVID- 19 patients on ventilators dropped from 1.4 to 0.7.

h The percentage of emergency department visits due to COVID-19 symptoms declined from 1.1% to 1%.

Contact David Bruce at dbruce@timesnews. com. Follow him on Twitter @ETNBruce.

“The 49% of people who aren’t vaccinated are still at risk of disease. And I’m concerned because the Delta variant is very transmissible and there are reports that children are more hard-hit by this variant than the other ones.”

Melissa Lyon

Director, Erie County Department of Health

Melissa Lyon, director of the Erie County Department of Health, is encouraged by the county's current COVID-19 case counts and hospitalization numbers, but is concerned not enough people are getting vaccinated to prevent a surge in cases this fall. CHRISTOPHER MILLETTE FILE PHOTO/ERIE TIMES-NEWS

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