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7 more die of COVID-19 in Monroe County

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Seven people died from COVID-19 in Monroe County since Sunday, bringing the county's death toll to 26, according to data from the county public health department.

The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment fell to 83 from a high of 86 on Sunday, while the number of people being treated in an intensive care unit held steady at 30.

Dr. Michael Mendoza, the county's public health commissioner, has said those figures are a better reflection of the burden on the local health care sytem than the total number of positive tests for the novel coronavirus.

Testing is still limited to certain high-priority groups of people, even as local pathology labs slowly begin to grow their capacties.

Mendoza said late last week that he anticipates the peak of the epidemic won't come locally until May -- but he also said when that peak arrives and what it looks like are heavily influenced by the degree of social distancing that people in the county practice.

Both the federal Centers for Disease Control and the Monroe County health department have begun recommending "universal masking" for people who enter public places.

County Executive Adam Bello said wearing a cloth face covering in public can limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, though he and Mendoza both said it is not a substitute for continued social distancing, hand-washing, and cough-covering.

Brett was the health reporter and a producer at WXXI News. He has a master’s degree from the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism.
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