Parts of Erie County enter COVID orange zone. Is Monroe County next? – Democrat & Chronicle

ROCHESTER, NY — Monroe County remained in New York’s yellow zone Thursday as the number of COVID-19 cases in the county passed the 10,700 mark.

In developments Wednesday:

  • Parts of Erie County moved from yellow to orange zone restrictions
  • New York City schools returned to remote learning
  • Wheatland-Chili schools went to remote learning after a transportation employee tested positive
  • The Latino Health Coalition raised concerns about the lack of timely Spanish translation of urgent pandemic-related information

You can read Wednesday’s update here.

Where does Finger Lakes region stand on COVID restrictions?

Whether the Finger Lakes and, more specifically, Monroe County is moving toward greater COVID-related restrictions is unclear. But Robert Duffy, who heads the region’s “control room” as part of the state’s coronavirus response, was at times optimistic Wednesday evening after a conference call with local health system and school district officials, and Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza. And at times not.

He spoke of a sense of “bright spots coming,” hints of a leveling off, and overall promising initial testing numbers in area schools. The low positivity in those tests will keep overall numbers down. But Mendoza has said he is working out a way to separate and show school data versus the rest of the community, as it is important to see both. The worry is the holidays, people gathering, and the virus spreading even faster, pushing the community further along the state’s yellow-orange-red levels of lockdown.

COVID microclusters:What do NY’s red, orange and yellow zones mean?

“If we go orange, and God forbid we go to red,” Duffy said, “… there are going to be countless people in this region who are going to lose their livelihoods, lose their business.”

Duffy, president and CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and the former New York state lieutenant governor, said the data will drive any such decision while also suggesting Gov. Andrew Cuomo “may be giving us the benefit of the doubt in the short term.” Collaboration in the region, with UR Medicine, Rochester Regional Health and other institutional leaders is unmatched in the state, Duffy said. But the Finger Lakes region’s overall rate of positive COVID test results is second highest in the state, behind Western New York. And while parts of Erie County are moving into orange-zone restrictions this week, the positivity rate in Orleans (which has no free testing sites) and Wyoming counties is worse; among the highest in the state.

“I hate wearing a mask,” Duffy said, but explained that he does so religiously because the only way out of the pandemic and the zones is to take the necessary precautions, to also social distance, wash hands, sanitize. “We have to keep reinforcing this with our family and friends and coworkers.”

He continued: “This is serious. It is not a political issue. It is one of public health and common sense. … This is not some time to be anti-government, and think your freedom has been restricted. It has not. This is a public health issue.”

– Brian Sharp

COVID-19 outbreak at Wyoming prison could be harbinger of more to come

As COVID-19 cases continue to shoot upward across New York, the inmates and workers at state prisons are again worried about keeping the virus under control behind prison walls.

The medium-security Wyoming Correctional Facility in Attica provides a snapshot of what the prisons could face in coming weeks.

Testing at the prison in October returned no positive cases out of 985 tested. But, according to corrections officials, an inmate this month displayed mild symptoms and tested positive. Through contact tracing, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, or DOCCS, conducted 125 tests and found 45 inmates to be positive.

One has since recovered, and most of the other cases are asymptomatic. None of the inmates are at outside hospitals.

Jesse Johnston, a former state prison inmate who has friends at the prison, said, “Everybody there is nervous and worried that nobody will help them.”

– Gary Craig

COVID cases on the rise in New York

ALBANY – COVID-19 remains on the rise in New York, with some areas of the state getting hit harder now than they did during the first wave of the pandemic in March and April. 

On Wednesday, New York reported 5,088 new coronavirus cases from the previous day, pushing the state’s total past 570,000 confirmed cases since the start of March. 

Daily briefing:Cuomo rips sheriffs for refusing to enforce Thanksgiving gathering limit

Investigation:COVID is threatening NY hospitals. Will elective surgeries stop again? What to know

It’s the latest in a string of daily infections that rival those seen in late April in New York, when a huge number of cases in New York City and the surrounding area hit the state harder than anywhere else in the country.

The increase is part of a large national surge in COVID-19 cases, with most states faring far worse than New York right now. But that’s likely of little comfort to central New York, the Finger Lakes and the Southern Tier, where coronavirus hospitalizations are at or near all-time highs. 

New COVID cases in Monroe County

Monroe County announced 224 new confirmed cases Wednesday, back up from 187 new cases Tuesday. The highest number to date has been 315.


The county did not provide an update on hospitalizations Wednesday, but the state tracking of cases in the Finger Lakes reported there were 211 people hospitalized (up from 206), and 46 in ICU (up from 40).

In other metrics:

The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 249 new cases per day.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases was 257 new cases per day Tuesday.

The seven-day rolling average positivity rate for Monroe County was down slightly again Tuesday to 4.63%. That number will be updated again on Thursday.


There were 0 new deaths. The total is 309 to date.

Here are the 224 new cases broken down by age and gender: 

  • 10 Females under 10
  • 7 Males under 10
  • 13 Females 10-19
  • 10 Males 10-19
  • 34 Females in their 20s
  • 15 Males in their 20s
  • 1 Non-binary in 20s
  • 19 Females in their 30s
  • 20 Males in their 30s
  • 2 Blank in 30s
  • 11 Female in their 40s
  • 7 Males in their 40s
  • 17 Females in their 50s
  • 14 Males in their 50s
  • 11 Females in their 60s
  • 10 Males in their 60s
  • 1 Non-binary in 60s
  • 7 Females in their 70s
  • 4 Males in their 70s
  • 2 Females in their 80s
  • 2 Males in their 80s
  • 5 Females in their 90s
  • 2 Males in their 90s

Recovered from Isolation

There have been 8,492 released from isolation – confirmed cases to date.

The total number of COVID-19 cases to date is 10,734.

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