There were 18 people being treated for COVID-19 in intensive care units in Monroe County, the local health department said Thursday morning.
The total number of confirmed cases rose to 142, with 32 of those being treated in a hospital.
Dr. Michael Mendoza, the county's public health commissioner, has said that the number of people receiving ICU care is a better measure of the strain that COVID-19 is putting on local health care resources than the total number of confirmed cases.
Mendoza said the case count is an underrepresentation of the coronavirus's prevalence in the county. Because of limited testing capacity, he said, only symptomatic health care workers and patients hospitalized with respiratory problems are being prioritized for testing. Yet evidence of community transmission indicates that the virus is much more widespread than what is revealed by the test results.
The 21 new cases of the disease confirmed overnight include nine people in their 20s and 30s and four people in their 80s and 90s. Initial data have shown that young people can easily carry, transmit and be sickened by the virus, though older adults are at a greater risk of serious health complications and death.
Ten people who were confirmed to have COVID-19 and were in mandatory isolation have since gotten better and been released in Monroe County. Nearly 550 people remained under mandatory quarantine or isolation on Thursday morning, the county said.