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COVID-19 hospitalizations in Monroe County still climbing 

The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Monroe County climbed to a new high Monday in data from the county Health Department.

The numbers have been climbing for the last nine days — with the exception of Saturday, when they held steady — even as the Rochester-Finger Lakes region begins to reopen parts of the economy. The latest figures showed 136 people in a hospital for COVID-19 in the county.

County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said the rising hospitalization numbers likely reflected the results of an order from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that hospitals not release a COVID-19 patient to a nursing home unless the patient tests negative for the novel coronavirus.

Under a previous state order, hospitals had been discharging COVID-19 patients when doctors determined the patients had recovered enough to continue their treatment in a nursing home. That led some nursing home residents and advocates to charge that the state was risking spreading the virus to an extremely vulnerable population.

Mendoza said the rule change meant that nursing home residents who had COVID-19 were staying in hospitals longer, driving the hospitalized population up to new heights, even as the number of new hospital admissions fell across the region.

In related developments Monday, the Health Department reported that two more people died of COVID-19 in Monroe County, bringing the county's death toll to 174.

Brett Dahlberg is a health reporter for WXXI News. He can be reached at bdahlberg@wxxi.org.
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