Coronavirus Facts First: Afternoon of March 19, 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 19, 2020

8 new COVID-19 cases in Monroe County, 30 total, 195 in mandatory quarantine

There are now 30 cases of COVID-19 in Monroe County, officials announced Thursday morning.

That number is up eight from last official count of 22 Wednesday night.

There are currently 195 people under mandatory quarantine. Of the 30 cases, 7 have required hospital treatment.

A this time there is one local COVID-19-related death in our community.

COVID-19 cases surpass 4,000 in NY, more workforce reductions, financial relief underway

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that there are 1,769 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New York, bringing the statewide total to 4,152.

Of the 4,152 confirmed cases, 777 of the those affected have required hospitalization — 19%.

“We’re fighting a war on two fronts, we’re fighting the virus, and we’re fighting fear,” Gov. Cuomo said. “In many ways, the fear is more dangerous than the virus.”

Cuomo issued a mandatory workforce reduction across the state Wednesday with the exception of essential services. Businesses would have to have 50% of their workforce working from somewhere other than their businesses.

Thursday, the governor announced he was taking that measure even further.

“I am increasing density control,” Gov. Cumo said. “No more than 25% of the workforce in office. That means 75%.

Gov. Cuomo also announced certain measures enacted for financial relief, including:

  • 90-day mortgage relief
  • Waive mortgage payments based on financial hardship
  • No negative reporting to credit bureaus
  • Grace period for loan modification
  • No late payment fees or online payment fees
  • Postponing or suspending foreclosures
  • Waive fees for overdrafts, ATMs, and credit cards

URMC: Save tests for those whose outcome will matter

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the world, and grow stronger in our community, local health officials urge the public to save the testing for those who the outcome will matter.

“Where the test really do make a difference is going to be for the people who are sick enough to be in the hospital,” University of Rochester Medical Center Dr. Paul Graman said.

Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza added that for everyone else, the treatment is the same. “That means that whether you have a positive or negative test, the important guidance is that your treatment is social distance. We want people to stay home because we know that is the most effective way in containing the spread.”

Currently, there is a nationwide shortage of testing materials, but Mendoza believes the shortage is temporary. With 80% of of COVID-19 cases diagnosed as mild, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention tell clinicians that [patients whose symptoms can be managed at home should not be tested. The only exception is for health care workers, EMTs or other directly involved with the crisis, but once tested, will allow those to return to work sooner.

Here is how COVID-19 testing works:

  • Specimen collection: A healthcare provider, wearing mask and protective eye-wear, obtains a nasopharyngeal simple by inserting a swab deep into the nasal passage of the patient
  • Transport: Patient sample gets sealed in the COVID-19 collection kit and transported to the lib via a lab courier.
  • Collection and tracking: Collection kit is brought to the UR Medicine lab and labeled for tracking.
  • Extraction: Specimen extraction happens in a biosafety level 1 area lab. The room has negative pressure to prevent transmission of viruses during the testing process.
  • Reports: Results are reported to the health care provider; UR medicine also shared results data with the county Health Department as it works to track active cases and manage the response to this health care emergency.

If testing is prioritize appropriately, those who are at most risk will get their results in the same day according to Mendoza. For those whose results won’t make a difference, the testing will have to be sent to other labs and would take up to five days.

What patients should do if they think they are ill with COVID-19:

  • Call their health care provider or email using the MyChart patient portal
  • Call the UR Medicine COVID-19 support line at 1-888-928-0011
  • Do not appear at a provider’s office, Urgent Care, or Emergency Room requesting to be tested
  • People who do not have a health care provider can also contact the Monroe County Health Department for advice at 585-753-5555 or email

Trump calls himself ‘wartime president’ as he battles virus

Describing himself as a “wartime president” fighting an invisible enemy, President Donald Trump invoked rarely used emergency powers to marshal critical medical supplies against the coronavirus pandemic. Trump also signed an aid package — which the Senate approved earlier Wednesday — that will guarantee sick leave to workers who fall ill.

Trump tapped his authority under the 70-year-old Defense Production Act to give the government more power to steer production by private companies and try to overcome shortages in masks, ventilators and other supplies.

Yet he seemed to minimize the urgency of the decision, later tweeting that he only tapped the Defense Production Act “should we need to invoke it in a worst case scenario in the future.”

“Hopefully there will be no need,” he added, “but we are all in this TOGETHER!”

The pandemic was starting to show its effects in the job market. The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits surged last week by 70,000.

Trump’s mixed messaging came as he took a series of other extraordinary steps to steady the nation, its day-to-day life suddenly and fundamentally altered.

The Canada-U.S. border, the world’s longest, was effectively closed, save for commerce and essential travel, while the administration pushed its plan to send relief checks to millions of Americans.

Trump said he will expand the nation’s diagnostic testing capacity and deploy a Navy hospital ship to New York City, which is rapidly becoming an epicenter of the pandemic, and another such ship to the West Coast. And the Housing and Urban Development Department will suspend foreclosures and evictions through April to help the growing number of Americans who face losing jobs and missing rent and mortgage payments.

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

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