Coronavirus Facts First: Afternoon of March 18, 2020

Coronavirus Facts First

NEWS 8 WROC VIDEO — As coronavirus continues to dominate headlines locally and beyond, it’s important to isolate what is fact, and what is fiction.

That’s why News 8 WROC is expanding beyond the traditional newscast to deliver the news that matters the most to the people that matter to us: you, the viewer. Each week day we’ll be doing an extended, online-only digital newscast that compresses the daily coronavirus headlines into one place.

Coronavirus Facts First

Afternoon of March 18, 2020

18 cases of COVID-19 in Monroe County, up 4 from Tuesday, 142 in mandatory quarantine

There are now 18 cases of COVID-19 in Monroe County, officials announced Wednesday morning

The number of total local cases is up four from 14 reported Tuesday.

There are 142 people under mandatory quarantine at this time. Of the 18 total cases, five of the people have required hospital treatment.

“If you are not providing an essential function to help the people in this community I am asking you to please send your employees home,” Bello said.

Family of 1st COVID-19 patient to die locally: ‘It’s not a joke’

The family of the man who became Monroe County’s first person to die of COVID-19 wants their grief to carry a message.

They’re mourning for 54-year-old Alvin Simmons, who died Tuesday morning at Rochester General Hospital. Public health officials say Simmons had complicating factors that contributed to his death.

In a statement, RGH said he was an employee at the hospital.

“The patient was hospitalized on March 14 with fever and acute respiratory symptoms and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.  The patient was a 54-year old male with multiple, serious underlying conditions, including hypertension, liver disease, and tobacco use.”

The family says the situation developed extremely quickly, saying Simmons felt sick in the middle of last week, threw up blood on Friday and was put on life support this weekend.

An army veteran and father of two, his sister, Michelle Wilcox, said he was selfless. “My brother loved everybody, he was a great person.”

According to the family, Simmions first experienced symptoms on Tuesday, and went to the hospital for treatment Wednesday.

Family says Simmons was diagnosed with pneumonia, given antibiotics and also took a coronavirus test. On Friday, they say he puked blood and had a stroke.

For the family, the disease not only took a life but any chance of a final goodbye.

“We couldn’t even see him. We saw him today after we pulled the plug on him. By video conference,” said Wilcox.

And now a message for others to stay safe:

“I want everybody to know that it’s real please just self-quarantine yourself. Do what you got to do. Don’t go out here,” said Wilcox. “It’s not a joke, please be out here safe. Wash your hands, do the self-distancing it’s not a joke.”

Gov. Cuomo: COVID-19 cases in NY surpass 2,300, mandatory workforce reduction issued

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that there are 1,008 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New York, bringing the statewide total to 2,382.

Of the 2,382 confirmed cases, 549 of the those affected have required hospitalization — 23%. To date, 108 patients who were diagnosed with the virus have been discharged from the hospital and there are 20 COVID-19-related deaths in New York, according to the governor’s office.

New York state remains No. 1 in the nation in regards to confirmed cases, and its 2,382 cases is more than double No. 2 Washington state’s 1,012 confirmed cases.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued a mandatory workforce reduction in New York state, with the exception of essential services.

On Wednesday, Cuomo said he would issue an executive order saying that businesses would have to have 50% of their workforce working from somewhere other than their business.

The exceptions, he said, are food delivery services, pharmacies, and those that work in healthcare, shipping, and supplies.

The governor says he understands reducing the workforce is an issue, but we should “deal with one crisis at a time” and the public health crisis is more important than an economic crisis right now.

How we can flatten the curve for COVID-19

Dr. Jeff Harp from Highland Family Medicine discussed how flattening the curve for COVID-19 infections can reduce the severity of the pandemic Wednesday during News 8 at Sunrise.

“In a pandemic, there are a certain number of people who are going to have the infection,” explained Dr. Harp. He referenced a graphic with a spiked purple-colored curve and then a lower, flatter curve with diagonal lines through it. “The purple curve is not the curve that we want. The curve that we want is the flatter curve there or the straightened curve. There is the same number of people involved in both of those situations but in the striped curve, it’s spread out a lot more over time. Now if you think about this, society has a certain capacity to deal with a number of sick individuals at a time. If you flatten out the curve you smush it below the capacity that the society has to deal with the problem. That pointy curve gets way out of control and there are just not enough resources to deal with what’s going on so we have to try to smush it.”

Dr. Harp said social distancing – physical distancing – is the key. “We can’t really emphasize this enough. This is a very serious situation and the way to do it for everybody to believe that this is true and to stay away from each other. I hate to say it that way, but to stay away physically – emotionally, electronically fine – but physically away from each other so there’s less transmission from person to person.”

Accordingly to Dr. Harp, the classic experiment to prove his point occurred in 1918 during the influenza pandemic. During that time one city continued on its normal path, while another city was vigilant about social distancing. The city that took no action had a death rate eight times that of the other city.

Dr. Harp said this is a lesson we should heed today as we endeavor to flatten the curve.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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