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Monroe County health officials: Hospitalizations, COVID-19 infection tracking up

Berkeley Brean
Created: May 18, 2020 06:20 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Our region's ability to stay open and start phase 2 of reopening on June 1 is dependent on certain data, and over the last week that data has gone in the wrong direction. 

Two things have gone up: the number of people hospitalized because of COVID-19 and the number of people infected by COVID-19. 

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I wanted to talk to Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza Monday. I emailed my request to his office at 11:09 a.m. His office did not respond to the request.

But on Saturday, Dr. Mendoza tweeted about it. 

In one day, between May 14 and May 15, the number of people hospitalized in Monroe County because of COVID-19 jumped by 13. From May 13 to the 17, the number of active cases jumped 194. 

It was those numbers and an F rating on social distancing for our region, that got Patty Fallon from Henrietta to contact me. 

Patty Fallon, Henrietta: "We've been working so hard to get there, I feel as a county, and doing it methodically and responsibly, it would be really discouraging to backtrack."

Here's what we know. 

In a series of tweets Saturday, Dr. Michael Mendoza said the hospitalization increase is due to an increase in the number of nursing home residents in the hospital.

An order by Gov. Andrew Cuomo says hospitals cannot send COVID-positive residents back to the nursing home. People hospitalized from their residential homes declined over two weeks. 

Bob Duffy, the chair of the group that compiles the reopening data to share with the governor's office, attributes the increases to more testing.

Bob Duffy, CEO Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce: "With the increase in testing, we're going to see more cases. It's going to happen."

It's happening at URMC. Last Wednesday it started testing patients with no symptoms in the hospital for some non-COVID reason. If they test positive that counts as a hospitalization. And that's when the charts say the numbers started going up. 

Brean: "Does that mitigate some of your concern and worry?"

Patty Fallon, Henrietta: "Yeah it does. And to be testing to find asymptomatic people before they can infect more people is certainly more positive."

I want you to remember two numbers. 

  • 30%. 
  • 43%. 

If we want to re-open phase two, our hospitals need 30 percent of their beds empty and available. 

Right now we're at 43%. 

So there is a cushion but we are watching these numbers carefully.


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