‘We need to do better’: County officials talk record COVID-19 rates, economy, schools, Thanksgiving


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — With 300 new Covid cases on Thursday, the coronavirus positivity rate in Monroe County now stands at 4.3%. Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said that figure is likely only going to climb higher.

“As adults, we are not wearing our masks enough. We are not socially distancing ourselves enough. And we are not being as mindful as we could be about our gatherings,” Mendoza said.

With people heading more indoors due to the cold, County Executive Adam Bello is asking the public to not let its guard down.

“It’s the relaxation, I think, in behavior that causes the virus to spread very quickly amongst groups of people and then bring it home and spread it to their friend and family.”

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, Bello reminded all that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said private gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people. Gyms, bars and restaurants, also have a new set of guidelines, requiring to close to 10 p.m. and switching to take out.

“There’s a new enforcement a strategy that is coordinated between our Department of Health and the New York State Police and the New York State Liquor Authority, so questions or issues that the public sees can always go to our hotline.”

Both men say the goal is to keep the economy, and schools, open. With weekly in-school COVID-19 testing to begin Monday, Mendoza said while schools are not rapid virus spreaders, they can shine light on the bigger picture. 

“Testing in schools will give us some information about the prevalence of COVID-19 in our homes, in our community as a whole.”

Mendoza said a return to normal isn’t impossible, but getting there starts with all of us. 

“We all want to go back to normal. We’ve done it before and I know we can do it again. But for now, we need to do better.”

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