WXXI AM News

COVID-19 hospitalizations rise and ICU numbers fall again in Monroe County

May 20, 2020

The number of people in hospitals for COVID-19 treatment in Monroe County rose to a new high for a fourth straight day, according to figures released Wednesday by the county public health department. But the number of people in intensive care units fell, the data showed.

Fewer COVID-19 patients were in ICUs Wednesday than any day since March 25.

The overall population of COVID-19 hospital patients rose again in Monroe County, but the number of those patients in ICUs dropped for a second straight day, according to figures provided by the county public health department on Wednesday.
Credit Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza suggested two primary reasons for the rising hospitalization numbers during a virtual news conference on Tuesday. He said expanded testing capacity allowed for more testing of people already in hospitals for non-COVID-19 treatment, and an order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo now prevents hospitals from discharging nursing home residents until they test negative for the coronavirus.

Mendoza said the declining numbers of people in ICUs assuaged his concerns about the rising hospitalization numbers. "Are people sicker now than they were before? I don't believe so," he said.

Still, the growing number of people in hospitals with COVID-19 was beginning to eat into hospital capacity in the region. The Finger Lakes had 39% of its hospital beds free on Tuesday, according to the state health department, down from 42% the day before.

Regions need to keep at least 30% of their hospital beds free to continue with the state's phased reopening process.

The county health department reported 65 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, including 17 in people under 30 years old and one in a man in his 90s.

The county also reported four more deaths from COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 182.