‘We don’t want to go back’: Monroe County officials warn of rising COVID-19 cases


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza and local hospital officials warned of increasing COVID-19 cases in a virtual briefing with media Thursday afternoon.

“We have more than 850 active cases, nearly three times the number of active cases we had just one month ago,” Dr. Mendoza said. “Today we will add 120 new cases and likely a greater number tomorrow. The last time we had this many cases was mid-June. Thankfully our positivity rate is not even close to what it is in other parts of the country, but unfortunately it is headed in the wrong direction.”

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Bello added that the increase in cases are most prevalent in these specific zip codes:

  • 14612
  • 14616
  • 14580
  • 14609
  • 14450

The health commissioner said that the biggest impact to the rise in cases is people gathering indoors, not socially distanced. As the holidays approached, officials encourage small gatherings, shopping online, and staying masked and socially distant when out in public.

“At our hospitals, the reduction in cases enabled us to care more non-COVID cases and restore visitation,” Chief Medical Officer for Strong Memorial and Highland Hospitals Dr. Michael Apostolakos said, who added concern that the rise in cases will force the hospital back into prior restrictions. “We all want to keep our community open and to do that we need to keep it safe.”

MORE | Gov. Cuomo on rising COVID-19 cases: ‘Serious caution flag’ in Rochester, Finger Lakes

The county executive said they are looking to avoid any lockdown measures.

“What we’re trying to do is ask for the public’s participation. We don’t want to go back,” Bello said.

Bello and Mendoza both complimented the local schools who have been able to reopen and not contribute to the spread.

“We have seen virtually no transmission in kindergarten through 12th grade schools in Monroe County,” Dr. Mendoza said.

With Thanksgiving around the corner, Mendoza said the bigger the gathering, the bigger the risk. The commissioner just asked families to weigh that risk and try to be as safe as possible.

“We all have to do our part to keep one another healthy and safe,” the health commissioner said.

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