The number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase in Monroe County and the Finger Lakes region. During the county’s weekly media briefing, officials say the problem comes from gatherings of people indoors.

“Today we are in an unfortunate position. After months of containing the spread of COVID-19 in Monroe County, we are now seeing a second surge." That gloomy message came from Monroe County Commissioner of Public Health, Dr. Michael Mendoza. He addressed the media with County Executive Adam Bello and other leading local health officials.

Dr. Mendoza said the area has tripled the number of active cases in just over month.

Monroe County is reporting a significant rise in COVID-19 rates in these zip codes:

  • 14612 and 14626 in the town of Greece
  • 14580 in the town of Webster
  • 14609 in the city of Rochester and the town of Irondequoit
  • 14450 in the town of Perinton

“So how did this happen? The answer is simple. As I’ve been saying for several weeks now, we are gathering, in short, too many of us have simply stopped doing what we know works and that is taking its toll, we now have community spread. It is now safe to assume that if you are going out in public, there is a chance you could be exposed to COVID-19 if you do not take proper precautions," said Dr. Mendoza. 

Could this lead to more formal lockdowns in our area?

"We’re looking to avoid that and that’s the purpose of today’s press conference and this briefing,” said Bello.

“We are all tired of COVID, unfortunately COVID is not tired of us," said University of Rochester Medical Center chief medical officer, Dr. Michael Apostolakos, who did offer some good news. “Our doctors and nurses have learned a great deal about how to care for COVID patients over the last eight months. We have had more effective treatments and fortunately the fatality rates have decreased."

There is more positive news, concerning schools.

“We have seen virtually no transmission within a K-12 school building in Monroe County," said Dr. Mendoza.

Officials are so pleased with this, that they are looking into using the schools as a model for other institutions.

But, the warnings to continue to follow safety protocols are stronger than ever, as we start to plan for Thanksgiving and the holidays that follow.

“What I will say is, the larger the gathering, the more risk there is," said Dr. Mendoza.

“It’s time to get our second wind and fight through the COVID fatigue that we’re all suffering from," said Dr. Apostolakos.