On Thursday, Monroe County reported 373 new cases of coronavirus, an all-time high for new daily cases. County officials warn that numbers could rise even more if people are not careful around Thanksgiving.
The holiday is next week, and the debate over enforcing how many people can gather in a home has been a hot topic.
However, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said that when it comes to enforcement, there’s a difference between getting slapped with a fine and getting hit with COVID-19. While one is instantaneous, the other has long-lasting effects on people’s health and livelihoods.
“The consequence for violating a public health order is that we get sick, is that the hospital systems fill up, is that there might not be a bed available to you when you’re sick,” said Bello.
The county said 137 county residents are hospitalized with COVID-19, and four more people have died. Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said that there are more people under 40 in the hospital than before.
“For somebody under the age of 40, and most people under 40 tend to have fewer medical comorbidities, you’ve got to be pretty sick and so as I see it that represents a risk in my view a red flag in my view, of how things may pan out over the ensuing weeks and months,” said Mendoza.
Mendoza said that hospital capacity isn’t just about the number of beds or rooms or ventilators, it is also about the medical staff, as healthcare workers are struggling to deal with the influx of rising cases.
“While they may be there in the same numbers as before, they are not there in the same spirit as before. We are burnt out, we are tired, and we want the community to step up and help us,” he said.
The seven-day rolling average positivity rate for Monroe County is 4.04% and the seven-day rolling average of new cases is 249 new cases per day.
The positivity rate within Monroe County’s "yellow zone," which includes the city of Rochester and most of the suburbs is 4.39%, an increase from Wednesday’s report of 3.87%.
In order to avoid a full lockdown, Mendoza said that people need to act like we are going into a lockdown. That means limiting trips to the store and avoiding gatherings with anyone outside of your household -- and that includes Thanksgiving.