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Monroe County COVID-19 cases continue to spike 

Monroe County continues to see spikes in the daily count of new coronavirus cases. Sunday, the county’s Department of Public Health reported 256 new confirmed cases of COVID-19; that's after it reported 211 new cases on Saturday.

The 7-day rolling average of new cases is 155 new cases per day; there were no new deaths in the latest report.

Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the increasing numbers of cases in Monroe, Erie and Onondaga counties may result in the state implementing its micro-cluster strategy in parts of those counties. That strategy is where the state uses temporary restrictions and additional enforcement in specific areas where COVID-19 has been rising. The microclusters are designated as yellow, orange, or red, with each tier representing escalating levels of restrictions and enforcement.

The COVID-19 infection rate in the Finger Lakes region on Saturday was 3.5%

Bob Duffy, president & CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, said the rapid rise in the number of coronavirus cases locally can have a number of repercussions.

"It is alarming," Duffy said. "So it’s taking a step back. And what we don’t want is to be complacent and all of a sudden the governor is put in a position where it goes to yellow, then to orange, then to red, and we’re back where were last March, April and May. We don’t want to go there."

Duffy served as an adviser to the state on the reopening of businesses and other entities during the pandemic. He added that a lot of small businesses, especially restaurants, would be severely impacted if they had to close again.

Duffy and county officials have been concerned about "pandemic fatigue" with too many people being lax about things like wearing masks and social distancing.

On Sunday, Rochester Regional Health officials suspended visitation at the systems hospitals. They said they made the decision due to the rapidly increasing prevalence of COVID-19 in the Finger Lakes region. Hospitals in the Rochester Regional Health system include Rochester General Hospital, Unity Hospital in Greece, UMMC in Batavia, Genesee County, and Clifton Springs Hospital and Clinic in Clifton Springs, Ontario County.

Newark-Wayne Community Hospital in Newark, Wayne County, suspended visitation last week.

Limited visitation will be allowed in the following cases:
  • Pediatric patients may have one support person on-site at a time. Two support people can alternate visitation.
  • Obstetrical patients may have one on-site support person and a doula.
  • Patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, and cognitive impairments, including dementia or who have conditions protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act, may have a support person who is medically necessary for their care.
  • Visitation at end of life.

In the above cases, visitation will only be allowed under the following conditions:
  • Visitors and support people will have their temperature checked before entering the hospital and then again every 12 hours while in a clinical area.
  • If a visitor or support person has a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more, or displays symptoms, they are not allowed into the hospital.

Randy Gorbman is the news director at WXXI News, a media partner of CITY. He can be reached at rgorbman@wxxi.org.

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