Monroe County seeing rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — On Wednesday there were 168 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Monroe County. A month ago, the county was averaging 13 new cases per day.

"We’re averaging more than a hundred new cases a day,” County Executive Adam Bello said on Tuesday. “Over the past week, 118 of our young people were diagnosed with COVID. Nearly half of them were under the age of 10."

As infections continue to surge, so do hospitalization rates especially among unvaccinated people.

"With one or two exceptions, the hospitalized individuals are unvaccinated, and a quarter of them are in the ICU," Bello said.

The last time we saw this many people hospitalized in Monroe County for COVID was in June.

Between Highland and Strong hospitals, there are currently 37 total COVID patients (8 in the ICU). At Rochester Regional Health (RRH), there are 45 COVID patients (9 in the ICU). Both URMC and RRH systems confirmed that the vast majority of their COVID cases are in unvaccinated people.

“While the hospitalization numbers are still relatively low compared to the peak of COVID, they are also increasing dramatically each week, especially among unvaccinated individuals," said Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza.

According to the Monroe County COVID-19 Dashboard, between July 27 and Aug. 3, the number of COVID hospitalizations doubled (going from 22 on July 27 to 44 on Aug. 3). This week, we’re close to hitting 80 people in the hospital because of COVID.

While it’s still not as much of a burden on hospitals as it was at the height of the pandemic, county officials still say we’re moving in the wrong direction.

"So there is still room, but that’s not a luxury that we want to take advantage of,” Mendoza said. “So right now we can handle things, but we don’t want to tax these hospitals any more than we have to."

During his weekly COVID briefing, Dr. Mendoza spoke about the ways in which the virus is spreading at this point in the pandemic. He says a significant number of new cases can be linked to people traveling from Florida.

"A significant percent of the new cases, 10% or more, can be connected to travel to Florida, or to visitors who have come here from Florida to stay with family or friends in Rochester," Mendoza said.

According to the CDC, Florida is currently averaging over 15,000 new COVID cases per day.

Aside from travel-related cases, Dr. Mendoza said he’s also seeing a lot of cases in people who show up to work with symptoms and spread the virus to coworkers, as well as kids coming in contact with the virus at camp and bringing it home to their families.