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Monroe County officials ramp up efforts to control coronavirus spread

Zoom conference screenshot

Monroe County set a new daily high for the number of positive coronavirus cases on Thursday: 654. The county also reported 19 more deaths. The county said those deaths occurred between 11/23 and 11/30.

Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said that while small indoor gatherings with other households may seem innocuous if everyone continues to have them, numbers can still continue to rise.

“We’re not changing the rules, we’re not asking people to do anything drastically different,” Mendoza said Thursday afternoon. “We’re just asking people to be a little bit more thoughtful, a little bit more mindful and do just a little bit more.”

County Executive Adam Bello said that with the rise in cases the county is expanding their public health operations and hiring 100 people to assist with their COVID-19 response team.

Bello also noted that the state-run testing site at Monroe Community College is also expanding their testing capacity to conduct more than 1,000 tests per day.

“If you think about where we are in a running race, we’re about three-quarters of the way through the race. We can see the finish line. There’s a vaccine on the horizon,” said Bello. “The success of the race comes down to the last quarter-of-a-mile. And we are there, and we do not want to stumble at the finish line.”

The first round of vaccines that may be arriving in a few weeks will likely not be enough to cover all eligible healthcare workers and long-term care residents in the county, said Mendoza.

He added that even if the community adheres to the guidelines, It may take weeks from before we see the number of daily cases and hospitalization rates start to decline, so he encouraged people to be patient with the process.

Monroe County also reported on Thursday that the 7-day rolling average positivity rate is 6.61%. The 7-day rolling average of new cases is 518 per day.

Here is the age breakdown of the latest Monroe County COVID-19 cases:

Credit Monroe County Dept. of Public Health

Noelle E. C. Evans is WXXI's Murrow Award-winning Education reporter/producer.