As 2021 comes to a close, health department officials and medical experts said that younger people are falling victim to COVID-19.

The health department reported 19 Erie County residents under the age of 50 have died of COVID this year.

Compared to last year, only two Eire County residents under the age of 50 died of COVID-19.

Medical experts said that one factor contributing to the increase in cases and deaths is the delta variant which spreads rapidly.

According to one doctor, a majority of the younger people dying from COVID are unvaccinated.

The doctor said that members of the community should consider getting vaccinated or receiving their booster with the omicron variant now present in the United States.

“It appears to be very contagious and much more rapidly spread and it is particularly infecting younger people probably because they’re more likely to gather together unmasked, but I fear that omicron will be as deadly to unvaccinated people as delta has been,” Dr. Howard Nadworny, Infectious Disease Physician.

The Erie County Health Department is hosting a free drive-thru COVID-19 testing clinic on Wednesday December 22nd at the Department of Public Safety on Flower Road.

For news delivered right to yousubscribe to JET 24/FOX 66/’s breaking, daily news & severe weather email lists

The clinic begins at 11 a.m.