WEOS Finger Lakes Public Radio

Monroe County patient dies of COVID-19

Mar 18, 2020
Originally published on March 18, 2020 8:52 am

The Monroe County health department announced that a patient at Rochester General Hospital has died from COVID-19.

The is the first known local death caused by the coronavirus.

Veronica Chiesi Brown, a spokesperson for Rochester Regional Health, said the patient was an employee at Rochester General Hospital. The company described him as a 54-year-old man with "multiple, serious underlying conditions" including hypertension, liver disease and tobacco use.

The man was hospitalized on March 14 with fever and acute respiratory symptoms. He later tested positive for COVID-19, Chiesi Brown said.

"We do not know where he acquired the virus," but he did not contract it from a patient at the hospital, she said.

The county health department, which traces the origin and transmission of positive COVID-19 cases, said that process is underway.

Rochester Regional said "some" employees were on quarantine, but declined to release an exact number.

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.

New York Gov. Andrew 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.

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