County's COVID-19 positivity rate stays near 10%; post-holiday surge not yet seen

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An anticipated major post-holiday surge of COVID-19 cases hasn’t happened in the Rochester region -- at least not yet. 

Credit National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Rocky Mountain Laboratories

Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said on Thursday that this could be attributed to fewer tests being administered in the last few weeks.

“We are, however, seeing the effects of Christmas Day gatherings -- visits with grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins -- and travel to other states,” said Mendoza. “I anticipate that the numbers are likely to grow in the coming days.”

There are currently just under 1,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the Finger Lakes region. Mendoza said the number of patients being treated at hospitals and intensive care units has remained relatively stable. 

However, Strong Memorial Hospital is preparing for its COVID-19 patient caseload to go up 25%, he said.

“The bottom line is that they are expecting an increase,” he said. “So, I think we need to hold tight before we draw any conclusions on how things will look in the next couple of weeks.” 

The seven-day rolling average positivity rate in Monroe County is just below 10%. County Executive Adam Bello said that while the number of COVID-19 cases has recently gone down, so has the number of coronavirus tests.

“It is critically important in order to slow down the spread that we do get tested and do as much testing as possible,” Bello said.

He said that just before Thanksgiving, 9,000 tests were being done per day. This past week, about half as many were administered. Bello encouraged residents to make time to get a test. 

County rapid testing sites are offering free tests in Rochester, Irondequoit, Brighton, and Gates.