ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County Executive Adam Bello announced the reappointment of County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza to a six-year term Thursday.
The county executive is set to be accompanied by local medical leaders at the time of the briefing such as Dr. Robert Mayo, Chief Medical Officer for RRH, Dr. Theresa Green, Monroe County Board of Health President and Chief Medical Officer for UR Medical Center Dr. Michael Apostolakos.
“When Dr. Mendoza was named commissioner in 2016, he came in at a time when the department of health shouldered intense instability,” Bello said. “But under his leadership, the department’s outreach to health and our quality of life has risen. Thank you, I look forward to doing work with you side by side.”
Dr. Mendoza spoke at the press conference and said that he is thankful to be appointed twice as the Commissioner of Public Health.
“To the public, thank you for your patience and your support,” Dr. Mendoza said. “Serving you is the reason I am here today and is the reason why I want to be here next year and beyond.”
Dr. Michael Mendoza first served as the medical director of Highland Family Medicine in 2009. He then served as a clinical assistant professor at the University of Chicago. He was then appointed as Public Health Commissioner in 2016.
Dr. Mendoza is known for several intervention programs, but his work began fighting the county’s opioid epidemic in 2017. Since then, he had a hand in forming the city’s response effort against COVID-19 among a number of advancements in major healthcare system issues.
Under Dr. Mendoza’s leadership, Monroe County administered more than 1 million vaccinations against COVID, helping raise the county’s population with a completed series of vaccination to 72.8%.
According to health officials, Monroe County has seen a total of 1,933 deaths due to COVID.
Bello said the health commissioner played a major role in safely reopening businesses and getting children back to schools — an achievement the executive believes cannot be overlooked.
“This is obvious to me and obvious to the community,” Bello said. “The clear choice to lead our public health efforts into our future is Dr. Mendoza.
“To say that Mike [Dr. Mendoza] deserves this reappointment is like saying Josh Allen deserves a shot at starting quarterback,” Dr. Apostolakos said with a smirk on his face.
Dr. Mendoza last addressed the public during a news briefing in regards to the county’s response against the monkeypox virus.
Monkeypox was originally detected in Monroe County in the early stages of July when a local male resident was confirmed to have contracted the virus while traveling outside the country.
“People who are not experiencing any of the symptoms, the current assumption is that there is no reason to worry,” Dr. Mendoza said at the time. This is not like other viral illnesses like chickenpox.” The duration of the isolation really depends on that individual’s healing progress — unlike COVID.”
Ever since then, county case numbers have risen to around 10 in total.
The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency, and New York State remains the epicenter of the virus, attracting the most cases in the nation.
You can watch the full press conference below:
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