Dr. Mendoza: 25% of weekend COVID-19 cases linked to travel from other states


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Three more states have been added to the coronavirus travel advisory. This requires travelers from these states to self-quarantine for two weeks once they arrive back in New York State.

Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said the health department is tracking people coming in from other states as best they can. According to Mendoza, they’ve seen a number of positive cases from travelers.

He said there were 100 positive COVID-19 cases in Monroe County this past weekend. 25% of those traveled back to the county from other states. Some of the states those positive cases came here from include Florida, Tennessee, and Arizona. Some also came from New York City.

Dr. Mendoza said travelers should take the same precautions in other states that they’re taking at home.

“We know that extended interactions with a diverse number of people in close proximity unmasked is risky and whether that’s in another state or your own backyard I think the risks are still there. The reality is you don’t know the full picture of risk in any gathering,” he said.

While many of these states are fully reopen, New York State is still waiting to reopen some venues including malls, movie theaters, and gyms. Dr. Mendoza said those venues are more risky because of how people interact in those spaces.

“I don’t think the nature of interactions in Wegmans are that high risk. I think people tend to go in and buy their things and move on but in gyms it’s a different kind of interaction.”

Dr. Mendoza said at the end of the day though, it’s not so much the location you’re in but how people are interacting and following guidelines.

Dr. Mendoza said we know COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through person to person contact- something that typically happens in places like malls or gyms.

“We know that it’s primarily person to person, we know that its primarily indoors relative to outdoors, we know it’s primarily when you have people in close proximity for extended periods of time, particularly those who are not wearing a mask.”

He said at the beginning of the pandemic we didn’t know the importance of wearing masks to prevent asymptomatic transmission. Now, masking is key to keeping our positive cases down. But to eliminate the virus completely, Dr. Mendoza said he thinks a vaccine is our best bet.

“At what point can we say that the public is immune enough that we can let our guard down? We are a long way from that. To be able to get to that level without a vaccine would unfortunately require a lot of people getting sick and that’s not a place that we want to go back to.”

Dr. Mendoza encourages anyone coming in from other states to call the health department. This allows them to call and check your symptoms during the 14-day quarantine.

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