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What do local COVID-19 clusters mean for holiday gatherings?

Jennifer Lewke
Created: October 15, 2020 05:26 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Colleges, carpools and family gatherings are the current sources of the COVID-19 clusters locally.

While Monroe County has the lowest rate of COVID-19 transmission in the country in communities with a population over 500,000 according to a study from the New York Times, our numbers have been creeping up.

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The biggest clusters include local colleges.

“A couple of schools of thought on these clusters—one is that they are just now getting caught because the schools are doing such a good job at screening we're detecting them now,” said Monroe County Health Commissioner, Dr. Michael Mendoza who added the county is also getting people into isolation and quarantine quickly.

But, as we get deeper into fall where most activities will be moving back inside, the county is on alert and making preparations to ensure it’s ready in the event of a surge, which has many folks wondering about the holidays.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Country’s leading expert on infectious disease told CBS News this week, “you may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering unless you’re pretty certain that the people you are dealing with are not infected.”

But Dr. Mendoza doesn’t necessarily agree, or at least isn’t willing to give up hope yet. He says if Monroe County stays diligent and takes precautions there may still be opportunities to gather.

“How can we look at travel in the coming Thanksgiving and winter holidays and find ways to do so safely. I think we can all agree that we are all yearning to be with one another particularly with our close family who may or may not live in our area,” Dr. Mendoza said.

Whether you’re the host of the visitor, you’ll need to be thinking ahead about what you can do in the two weeks prior to any gathering to reduce the risk.

“I think the reality is, that it's important for us to reconnect but we want to make sure that we do so safely so, a lot of our guidance will hinge upon where we are in November and December. But, I do think there are some common principles that everybody ought to be aware of so we're in the process of putting that all together for the public now,” Dr. Mendoza explained.


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