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Nearly 1,100 new COVID-19 cases in Monroe County; but hospital cases regionally trending downward

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
A scanning electron micrograph shows a cell infected with coronavirus particles isolated from a patient sample.

New numbers on COVID-19 positivity for Monroe County released on Tuesday show 1,069 new cases (525 that were laboratory confirmed, and 544 that involved home tests). The positivity rate in the county is at 9.7%.

Health officials said that the latest report includes test results from Dec. 26 – 28, and that due to the holiday, there was a significant delay in reporting of test results, and it will take several days to clear.

Hospital capacity remains one of the biggest concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic... but there's some potentially good news in our region.

Before the Omicron variant sent COVID numbers spiking in New York City and downstate, the Delta variant was causing a spike in Rochester area case numbers and hospital usage in the Finger Lakes region.

At the start of August, the region began climbing from fewer than 30 hospital beds in use to a peak in mid-December of more than 500 people hospitalized.

But state data shows those numbers began a slow decline a few weeks ago.

In the numbers released by the Monroe County Department of Public Health on Tuesday, there were 489 COVID patients in Finger Lakes hospitals, 123 of them in ICU beds, a number that has generally been dropping for more than a week now.

Hospital leaders and public health officials will be watching closely to see if holiday travel and the arrival here of Omicron will send those numbers rising again.

Before vaccines arrived, numbers in the Finger Lakes region reached an all-time peak exactly one year ago, when there were almost 1,000 people hospitalized with COVID.

You'll hear Scott in various capacities on WXXI either as a reporter, or hosting Morning Edition or All Things Considered.