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How soon and how safely can the Rochester area’s economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic?  That was a topic explored in a live forum on WXXI-TV, radio and online Thursday night by officials and area business people.

"We hold the future in our hands." That’s the way Monroe County Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Michael Mendoza views how quickly  and safely the region can reopen.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

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.

Max Schulte / WXXI News

Monroe County and the Finger Lakes region are mostly on track to continue reopening the economy, County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said Tuesday. But, he also noted some reservations about rising numbers of hospitalized people and signs that distancing practices are not universal.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

As Monroe County and the rest of the Finger Lakes region began to reopen Friday, hospital leaders and government officials said they were keeping a close eye on the statistics that could foretell a surge of COVID-19 cases.

Monroe County public health commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said the region met all the benchmarks set by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to begin reopening certain parts of the economy.

Max Schulte/WXXI News

The process of Monroe County distributing more than one million masks to local residents began on Saturday, with towns and villages helping pass them out to people who lined up in cars on an unseasonably chilly and at times, snowy day.

Among the towns taking part, Irondequoit, where both the Town Supervisor, Dave Seeley, and his predecessor in that position, the current Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, took part, handing out masks during the midday.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

The Monroe County public health department and the nonprofit organization Common Ground Health launched an online survey on Thursday to track COVID-19 symptoms in the Finger Lakes region.

County public health commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said he wants people across the region to take the survey daily, even if they don’t have any symptoms of the disease.

He said current data points lag behind reality.

Rochester area leaders are urging a cautious approach in reopening businesses and other organizations, even as they also indicate that steps taken so far have helped keep the coronavirus from overwhelming the area’s hospitals.

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, the county’s Commissioner of Public Health, Dr. Michael Mendoza, and Rochester Chamber of Commerce President Bob Duffy all say that while progress has been made in containing the virus, the phased-in reopening of the state, which is being led by Governor Andrew Cuomo, is the right approach.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The number of people in Monroe County who have died from COVID-19 has reached 99, including three since Friday, the county health department said Saturday evening. 

Of the 1,257 confirmed cases, 101 people are currently hospitalized, and 29 of them are on a ventilator. 

Among the 40 new cases in the county since Friday is one boy under the age of 10, the health department said.

In Livingston County, officials said there have been two new cases of the virus since Friday, bringing the county’s total to 59.

WXXI News

Several local researchers and public policy experts got together in a televised virtual forum seen and heard on WXXI TV, radio and online on Thursday night to talk about COVID-19.  They had some answers but also a lot of questions.

File photo

With a surge in COVID-19 cases yet to materialize, many hospital beds in Monroe County and the surrounding region are empty.

The push for physical distancing has been successful, hospital leaders and public officials said. Closing businesses and shutting down schools averted a crisis, at least for now.

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