WXXI AM News

Local hospitals see rising COVID-19 cases, anticipate vaccine approval

Dec 9, 2020

More than 550 people are being hospitalized in the Rochester area with COVID-19 at both the University of Rochester Medical Center and Rochester Regional Health’s hospitals.

Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

There are three times as many COVID-19 patients at RRH hospitals than there were at the peak of the last surge, according to Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Mayo at Rochester Regional Health.

URMC, as well, continues to see more COVID-19 patients at their hospitals each week, and Dr. Michael Apostolakos, URMC's chief medical officer, said they are expecting more in the weeks to come, during the holiday season.

“A holiday season that is virtual will be life-saving. Will bend the curve. And I just get emotional when I think about people who will not be here next year because of decisions being made now,” Apostolakos said.

If the community is able to flatten the curve, that would mean that people who are sick with the virus will be better able to get the care they need both now and in the future, he said. 

“My heart goes out for people who are suffering from COVID-19 now and possibly spreading it to others who may not have other holidays,” he said.

Both medical systems are preparing for the possibility that the FDA will soon approve the Pfizer vaccine. That includes administering vaccines to healthcare workers initially; it also means providing education to the public.

“I am aware of efforts in the community also to reach out to the Black and brown communities and address their valid and unique concerns about vaccination,” said Mayo. “It’s really important that all sectors of the community get the answers they need to feel comfortable moving forward.”