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Coronavirus: Possible Monroe County case sent for testing

Mar 4, 2020

UPDATE: On Saturday, Rochester Regional Health officials said samples from the patient who was being tested came up negative for the novel coronavirus. Rochester Regional Health Chief Medical Officer Robert Mayo released this statement:

 

“The New York State Department of Health has notified us that the patient admitted to Rochester General Hospital this week tested negative for COVID-19.  Our medical teams followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols from the time the patient entered the hospital until their discharge. Rochester Regional Health will remain vigilant about COVID-19 as the situation continues to evolve.”

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Previous story:

A sample from a Monroe County patient has been sent to Albany for testing for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

If confirmed, it would be the first known case of the disease in the county, and in upstate New York.

The county said it could not provide any further information about the patient’s identity.

At a news conference Wednesday evening, public health commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said the patient arrived at the Rochester General Hospital emergency department that morning with fever, coughing and shortness of breath.

“This person has been under appropriate isolation the entire time,” Mendoza said.

When the hospital did not find any other illness to explain the patient’s symptoms, Mendoza said it raised suspicions of COVID-19.

Monroe County public health commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza says a sample from a person in Monroe County has been submitted for SARS-CoV-2 testing in Albany.
Credit Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

He said test results should be back within 48 hours.

The state’s Wadsworth Center in Albany is the only place in New York that can perform testing, though administrators at the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Strong Memorial Hospital said earlier this week that they expect to be able to run tests locally soon.

Dr. Robert Mayo, the chief medical officer at Rochester Regional Health, which runs Rochester General, stressed that sending a sample for coronavirus testing does not presuppose a positive result. “At this time, there are no confirmed cases at Rochester Regional Health,” he said.

If the test is positive, Mendoza said that sets off contact tracing to find other people who may have been exposed to the person during the period they were contagious.

As of Thursday night, the patient had been discharged from the hospital and was at home "under voluntary quarantine," Mayo said. Testing was still in progress.