COVID clusters popping up all across the Finger Lakes region

Jennifer Lewke
Updated: October 24, 2020 02:16 PM
Created: October 23, 2020 04:51 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Monroe County isn’t the only area dealing with an increase in COVID-19 cases, nearly all of the counties in the Finger Lakes region are seeing the numbers soar.

Ontario County is seeing its highest number of coronavirus cases yet.

“Since Oct. 1, I've had 142 positive cases,” said Public Health Director Mary Beer.

More than 12 of the cases are in one Victor neighborhood.

“It was a gathering of several families who ended up getting positives and then passing it on to some others,” Beer explained.  

Even smaller gatherings are becoming troublesome.

“We've also seen a slumber party that resulted in having to close down a school classroom because of positivity there, so there's just a lot of little activities that end up getting bigger and bigger,” Beer said.  

The same is true in Livingston County.

“Our daily infection rate a few days ago went up to 3.5% which is probably the highest in some time,” said Public Health Director Jennifer Rodriguez.  

While the county is keeping an eye on a cluster of around 17 positive cases at SUNY Geneseo, it is also pleading with residents to think twice about gatherings, even small ones.

“We see some crossover from some of our neighboring counties, most notably Steuben County who has a large number of cases.  I think they're just over 300 active cases and we have gotten a few cases that have been attributed to some indoor gatherings in that county with our residents,” Rodriguez explained.

In many cases, the gatherings are fewer than 50 people so they’re technically legal but still dangerous, especially if party-goers aren’t wearing a mask the whole time.

When it comes to the source of other clusters, “We currently do use a lot of vigilance with our enforcement action… we do try education first, we're in this as a partnership with the community we want businesses to stay open but if the rules aren’t being followed, then we will start with enforcement and fines,” Rodriguez said.

So far, there have been no COVID-specific fines in Livingston or Ontario Counties but if the numbers continue to increase, they say, they’ll have no other option.

“We haven't done it yet but we're also being told by the governor that if we don't do it we are risking state aid to the county which then decreases services that we can provide to our residents,” Beer said.

Wayne County is also seeing an increase in its numbers; some of the clusters there are in nursing homes.  

All the counties are urging residents to become more diligent about social distancing and masking. They also suggest families reconsider any plans to gather, even in small groups, for right now.

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