Three more die from COVID-19 in Monroe County
The Monroe County health department announced three deaths from COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the county's death toll from the disease to 17.
The county confirmed 45 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Saturday, as well, which brought the total number of known cases to 481.
The new cases include nine people in their 20s or younger and six people in their 80s or older.
The county has thus far declined to release demographic information about people who have died from COVID-19. However, in a televised town hall-style event on Thursday, when there were 10 deaths in the county, public health commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza, said the average age of those who died was 76.
"Very significant chronic medical illnesses contributed, unfortunately, to the outcome," Mendoza said.
The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Monroe County undercounts the total number of infected people because testing supplies are limited, and current guidelines advise testing only of people hospitalized with respiratory symptoms and health care workers or first responders who have symptoms of COVID-19.
In a Friday interview with WXXI News, Mendoza said he does not expect the epidemic to peak locally until May.
"We have four weeks of time to prevent the surge," he said, encouraging residents to continue staying home to slow the spread of the virus and lower the number of people who are sick at the same time.