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Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

Growing knowledge about COVID-19 has changed the way doctors in Monroe County treat patients with the disease.

At the beginning of the outbreak locally, doctors at Rochester Regional Health and the University of Rochester Medical Center found that some patients who seemed like they would weather the illness instead deteriorated very quickly.

Michael Krinke/iStockphoto.com/NPR

As the death toll from COVID-19 climbs in Monroe County -- three people have died since Monday, but officials say the rate is likely to accelerate as the disease spreads -- local doctors have begun to understand more about how to treat patients who develop severe symptoms.

The virus that causes the disease is only about 4 months old, and any hands-on experience treating it locally has only developed over the last two weeks since the first case was identified in Monroe County.