ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Late Friday night, Monroe County officials confirmed the second local case of COVID-19.
At a press conference Saturday morning, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello declared a state of emergency.
“This is not a time for fear or panic this is a time to help and care for one another and most especially the most vulnerable people around us,” Bello said.
Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza says the patient is a woman in her 60s, currently in stable condition at Unity Hospital. The patient is a teacher at Greece Arcadia Middle School.
Greece Central School District Superintendent Kathleen Graupman announced all GCSD schools will be closed until further notice.
Dr. Mendoza said the patient began showing symptoms on March 4, and officials are currently executing “contract tracing” to find other people possibly affected.
“We are entering some very unsettling times, this will be a time that will test us to see if we can adopt to habits,” Dr. Mendoza said.
Dr. Mendoza also said he believes this is the first example of local transmission of COVID-19.
“We have not been able to find a travel related risk factor that explains how this individual contracted this infection,” Dr. Mendoza said.
The health commissioner said “school closures are a great example of social distancing,” but he acknowledged the difficulties in making the decision to close a school, saying there are many unintended consequences in doing such.
“If we have students staying at home and therefore parents are staying at home, what do the parents do for work and in this community?” Dr. Mendoza said. “Many of our parents work in the healthcare and there may be unintended consequences in closing a school.
“Along the notion of day care, if parents are not yet prepared and the plan for day care is to call grandma or grandpa we are potentially putting a more vulnerable individual at risk,” Dr. Mendoza said.
Regarding the first local case, which was announced late Wednesday night, the Monroe County Department of Public Health announced Friday it is searching for four passengers who were on a bus with the local patient who tested positive for COVID-19.
Dr. Mendoza says the patient with the virus, who landed at JFK airport earlier this week and then took a bus from New York City to Rochester, was seen wearing a mask and gloves while on the bus.
Dr. Mendoza says the Department of Health has been in contact with seven of the passengers on the bus, who are “asymptomatic and in quarantine,” but adds there are four additional passengers the department has been unable to reach.
Locally, the outbreak of the virus has impacted schools, businesses, churches, events, and more throughout the region. Click here for a list of cancellations and closures.
Nationally, President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency in regards to the virus pandemic.
In New York state, confirmed cases of the virus have surpassed 500, announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Saturday.
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.