The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moved Monroe County from “substantial” to “high” community transmission of COVID-19.
The county had just been moved from the “moderate” level to “substantial” earlier this month.
The threshold for being placed in the “high” transmission category, according to the CDC, is having more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days. Monroe County has just over 104 cases per 100,000 of the population.
"This is extremely concerning, particularly as our schools prepare to fully reopen in less than one month,” County Executive Adam Bello said in a statement Thursday.
He urged all eligible residents to get vaccinated and to take additional precautions to stop the spread of the virus.
Bello also encouraged everyone to wear a mask inside public places, move social gatherings outdoors, stay home if you're not feeling well and visit your health care provider if you’re experiencing symptoms.
He said the community has the power and the knowledge to control the spread.
“Things won’t get better if we stick our heads in the sand,” Bello said. “Working together, we can make it safe for schools to reopen, help ensure our businesses thrive and enjoy our lives to the fullest.”
The county has already mandated that all Monroe County employees wear face masks or face coverings in public and common areas of all county-operated facilities.
On Thursday, the Monroe County Department of Public Health reported 148 new cases of COVID-19. The county’s dashboard shows the latest positivity rate on a seven-day average is 4.5%.
Monroe County is currently the only local county in the "high" transmission category. There are 81 people hospitalized in the county for COVID-19, with 19 of them in the ICU.