COVID-19 claims 5 lives in Monroe County; more than 200 confirmed cases

Mar 28, 2020

The Monroe County public health department confirmed 24 new cases of COVID-19 overnight, officials said in a Saturday morning statement.

Limited testing supplies mean that these numbers remain an imperfect measure of the spread of the disease locally, but the data confirms the virus continued to circulate well after county executive Adam Bello ordered schools closed two weeks ago. It's the largest yet overnight increase in confirmed cases.

In an afternoon update, the county said a person had died of the disease, bringing the local death toll to five. An additional 12 people tested positive for the disease.

The data also showed the virus's ability to infect people regardless of age. In the set of cases of COVID-19 confirmed overnight there were two people under the age of 20 and two people in their 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.

A total of 202 people in the county have been diagnosed with COVID-19. More than 20 have gotten better and been released from mandatory quarantine.

"Monroe County continues to ask residents to stay home and practice social distancing," the health department said. "We should all assume that we have been exposed to COVID-19, even if we do not have recognizable symptoms, and could be spreading the virus to people who are vulnerable to more severe symptoms."

The health department included a list of tips for people who do venture outside:

Can I visit my relatives or friends?

Do not visit loved ones in person. Use the phone or other electronic devices. Deliver food or other essential items to the doorstep.

How can I keep safe when I need to go out to secure essential items like food?

  • Make as few trips as possible.
  • Avoid excessive shopping time.
  • Make a list in advance.
  • Consider using delivery services or the self-checkout lane.
  • Wipe down the shopping cart, touch screens and touch pads before and after use.

What if we are outside?

  • Avoid close contact with people, even when outside. Keep a distance of at least 6 feet to help slow the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Avoid games and activities that require close contact.
  • Avoid frequently touched surfaces and objects. This includes playground equipment like slides and swings. 
  • Do not share equipment such as bicycles, helmets, balls or frisbees. 
  • Do not gather in groups.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue and discard the tissue in a closed container. 

When you return indoors, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.