Monroe County officials address Coronavirus preparedness


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and other local officials detailed the steps the county is taking to be prepared in the event of a local outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Officials said Thursday the risk from the virus is low in our community at this time, but measures are being implemented to ensure an “immediate and effective response” in case the situation changes.

“Although we still have no cases in Monroe County, or in New York state, I am preparing as if we will,” said Monroe County Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza.

Mendoza said at this time, there are currently 11 Monroe County residents under voluntary quarantine.

Bello says his team is working with department heads and community agencies to “review and evaluate existing resources, identify preparatory actions, and make sure procedures are in place to protect citizens of Monroe County.”

Mendoza said travel remains the primary concern as far as risk categories go.

Mendoza also said that masks and protective equipment can create a false sense of security, and that widespread usage of these devices can “threaten to deplete” the local supply of them.

“Masks are an important protective measure when used properly in the right setting and with the right people,” Mendoza said. “For general public, and people who are well, the CDC does not recommend the use of masks or respirators.”

Earlier this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would spend over $40 million to make sure the state is ready for a possible coronavirus outbreak.

“We don’t have the details on how those funds will be distributed,” Bello said when asked about the $40 million. Bello said his goal is to provide the public with as much information as possible to protect themselves.

Officials urged to call ahead if symptoms seem severe enough to go to an emergency room.

“Call first, so we can expect you, meet you at the door, give you a mast, take you to a room away from other people so we can protect you,” a doctor with the University of Rochester said.

Health officials said there are dozens of isolation rooms at Strong Memorial Hospital that can be used if isolation is needed.

The University of Rochester released a statement addressed concerns as well.

“President Sarah Mangelsdorf has established the Coronavirus University Response Team (CURT) to plan holistically for how the situation may affect the entirety of the institution in areas including public health matters, campus climate, University travel, student applications and enrollment, and the overall well-being of the university community members.”

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