Monroe County patient dies of COVID-19

Mar 18, 2020

The Monroe County Health Department announced a patient at Rochester General Hospital has died from COVID-19. This is the first known local death caused by the coronavirus.

Out of respect for the patient's privacy, county Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said he could not release any additional details, other than to say that there were "complicating factors that contributed to the death."

Earlier on Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported 12 total deaths from the virus in New York State, with more than 1,300 confirmed cases.

Three new COVID-19 cases were also confirmed in Monroe County on Tuesday, the health department said. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in the county to 14. Health officials have said it’s impossible to know how many cases remain undetected.

The health department said 79 people in the county are under mandatory quarantine.

Contact tracing is underway to identify people who have been exposed to the positive cases, the county said. The health department expects to test 16 people for COVID-19 today.

At least some of those tests can be done locally, as both major hospital systems in Monroe County began “limited” testing over the last few days.

Cuomo said Tuesday that more than 10,000 people have been tested in the state.

Rochester Regional Health said it can test 50 to 100 samples per day. The University of Rochester Medical Center said it’s still focused on “getting this process up-and-running,” with more details on capacity available later in the week.

Schools are now closed in New York State, and bars and restaurants are under orders to serve takeout and delivery customers only in an effort to slow the spread of the disease.