State of emergency declared in Monroe County
Rochester, New York — Due to the sharp increase in local hospitalizations caused by COVID-19, a state of emergency has been declared in Monroe County, effective immediately.
On Tuesday, the announcement was made by County Executive Adam Bello and Dr. Michael Mendoza, the county’s commissioner of public health.
Bello and Mendoza were joined on the call by University of Rochester Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Apostololakos and Rochester Regional Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Mayo.
The county will implement Phase 1 of its COVID-19 prevention measures starting on Wednesday, according to Bello.
Those measures include:
-Masks required in county buildings
-Local businesses are being asked to also require masks, but it is not mandated by the county
-Testing sites are being expanded
-County will distribute 750,000 free rapid test kits to everyone in the county before Christmas
-County workers who are able to work from home will do so
-Mask-wearing in public, hand washing, social distancing encouraged
According to the county executive, mandates for masks and/or vaccinations are not being implemented for the rest of the county as part of Phase 1. If COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise, then the county will need to move on to Phase 2 prevention measures. State of emergency measures will remain in place until local COVID-19 hospitalizations are stabilized.
According to the leaders of Rochester Regional Health and URMC, bed capacity at their hospitals is being stretched thin largely due to unvaccinated individuals.
Last Friday Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency in New York in an effort to prepare the state for the arrival of the omicron variant.
According to Hochul, her order will target areas with the least available bed capacity. Both Rochester Regional Health and URMC health systems are considered to be at or below 10% available bed capacity.