novel coronavirus

Max Schulte / WXXI News

Monroe County needs more coronavirus testing capacity to prepare for the start of the school year, county public health commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said on Friday.

Students who have any symptoms of COVID-19 either need a positive coronavirus test to start isolation until they're no longer contagious, or a negative test and a note from a health care provider after their symptoms resolve, to go back to school, according to the health department's instructions.

Mendoza said the number of tests required to meet those needs will likely exceed the current capacity of diagnostic laboratories in the county.

"Based on our estimates, we're going to need to have about 1,000 additional tests per day," he said.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

Dr. Ann Falsey, one of the principal investigators of the vaccine treatment and evaluation unit at the University of Rochester, sees a consistent problem in her research.

“We’ll get a thousand people who want to be part of vaccine studies,” Falsey said. “Ninety-nine percent of them will be white people who live in the suburbs.”

Monroe County Department of Public Health

The Monroe County public health department has stopped publishing county-level COVID-19 hospitalization statistics daily. The county health department said this week that it will instead report regional figures from the nine-county Finger Lakes region that New York state uses to assess reopening readiness. 

The health department had been receiving multiple census files from hospitals in the county and communicating directly with hospital staff to compile the local numbers in its daily reports. “We are no longer doing that,” said spokesperson Julie Philipp.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

The number of people in intensive care units for COVID-19 treatment in Monroe County reached its highest point in almost two months on Thursday, according to figures from the county health department.

The county said there were 10 people with COVID-19 on ventilators for life support. It’s the first time in almost two months that ICU numbers have been in the double digits, but it’s still far below the peak of the local epidemic in April and May.

Ontario County Department of Public Health

The Ontario County public health department said Tuesday that it found a “small cluster” of three people with COVID-19 at a Tim Hortons in Canandaigua.

Each of the three is an employee at the restaurant, the health department said in a press release. “Employees are at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19 because of the difficulty in maintaining a six-foot radius from fellow workers,” the department said.

Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

School districts in the Rochester area said Monday that they should not appear on a list, published by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, of districts that have not submitted reopening plans.

The governor’s office published the list of 107 districts shortly after Cuomo held a briefing late Monday morning. “How they didn't submit a plan is beyond me,” he said.

The Monroe County public health department said Friday that it believes a COVID-19 exposure is connected to a restaurant in Henrietta.

The department advised anyone who was at the Tokyo Japanese Restaurant, on Hylan Drive near the Marketplace Mall, between 8:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 1, to monitor themselves for symptoms of the disease.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

The vast majority of people who are diagnosed with COVID-19 have survived the disease, but a growing body of evidence is finding that survival does not guarantee a smooth recovery.

“It’s not just dying that you need to be concerned about,” said Dr. Jeffrey Bruckel, a cardiologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center who has treated COVID-19 patients.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The number of people in hospitals for COVID-19 treatment in Monroe County dropped below 40 on Wednesday, according to data from the county public health department.

That marks the lowest number of people hospitalized since the end of March, when the coronavirus epidemic was accelerating across upstate New York.

This week, Erie County also reported its lowest hospitalization number since the pandemic began.

Max Schulte / WXXI News

Since April, New York state has required people to wear masks when they are outside of their own homes and cannot maintain 6 feet of distance from each other.

That rule has two exceptions: Children under 2 years old, and people who cannot “medically tolerate a face-covering” are not required to wear masks.

The first exception is clear, but the second remains open for interpretation even months after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order took effect, said Dr. Mical Raz, a professor of history and health policy at the University of Rochester.