COVID-19 numbers on rise, but no mandates yet in county

Jul 27, 2021

As COVID-19 cases rise locally and across the state, Monroe County officials said Tuesday that they will resume their briefings -- but not change any policies quite yet.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 83.2% of new nationwide cases are attributed to the Delta variant. On Tuesday, the agency issued a recommendation for some vaccinated people to wear masks while indoors in areas where the virus is spreading rapidly.

County Executive Adam Bello said the county’s numbers don't require those measures just yet.

“We are not considering reinstituting a masked mandate in our community right now. We don't think that we're there at this point,” Bello said. “I'm also not considering a mandate for vaccination for Monroe County employees.”

New York City announced Monday that government workers there would have to be vaccinated or undergo weekly coronavirus tests. Talks that it would become a statewide policy circulated, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo quickly quashed those rumors and questioned the mandate's legality.

Bello said decisions may change if the Delta variant proves to be a threat even among the vaccinated. He said right now the positive cases are contained and are being traced to clusters. 

“One of the things we're going to look at very carefully is whether or not that trend continues, or do we start to see evidence of widespread community transmission,” Bello said 

Dr. Michael Mendoza, the county's public health commissioner, said the vaccine is still the most effective tool to combat any variants, and he urged the community to choose facts over fear.

“Let's focus on what we know works and what we can do, and not be afraid of the things that we don't yet know,” Mendoza said. 

He said the county is well ahead of the vaccine curve with nearly 70% of eligible residents with at least one dose, and 62% who have completed the vaccine series.

The county reported 53 new cases on Tuesday, and the University of Rochester Medical Center reported 10 COVID-19 hospitalizations.