“Regardless of how and when we reopen we have to do it in a way that’s responsible and doesn’t throw away the hard work we’ve been doing,” Monroe County Executive Adam Bello told reporters on a Zoom teleconference.
Bello was joined by County Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza and former Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, who is now president of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s special adviser for the Finger Lakes region for the coronavirus pandemic.
As of Friday, New York state had more than 313,500 coronavirus cases and 23,841 deaths from the illness. Starting March 23, Cuomo ordered all nonessential businesses to close and all nonessential workers to stay home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Now that the number of coronavirus cases seems to have plateaued in the state, the tentative plan is to start reopening the economy on May 15. Monroe County has had 1,414 cases and 115 deaths from the virus. But Mendoza said Friday that the spread of the infection has stabilized.
“The number of people who are admitted to the hospital in this county has remained relatively stable at roughly 100 for some weeks now and that’s well under the capacity that our hospital systems are able to support,” he said.
Cuomo announced Friday that schools and college campuses would remain closed for the remainder of this school year, but very few details of how the economy will reopen have been decided, although the plan so far calls for the construction and manufacturing sectors to restart first.
Mendoza said the county currently has about 25 workers doing contact tracing to find out who has come into contact with people diagnosed with coronavirus and that number has been adequate so far.
“My hope is that we don’t need that many. My hope is that we keep the curve flat and that we don’t have any more infections,” he said.
Bello said the additional hazard pay approved by the Monroe County Legislature for frontline county workers at risk of contracting coronavirus will start showing up in the next round of county paychecks. About 2,400 workers will get up to an additional 20% retroactive to April 4.
Mendoza said he is grateful for the cooperation Monroe County residents have shown in the past several weeks.
“We’ve flattened the curve so far. Not even several weeks ago we were taking about a surge happening in the middle of May and there’s no indication at this point that we’re going to see that,” Mendoza said.
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