Bello Declares State of Emergency for Monroe County, Greece Schools Close

Monroe County now has its second confirmed case of the COVID-19 disease, leading Monroe County Executive Adam Bello to declare a State of Emergency.

The second patient is a woman in her 60s who works at Arcadia Middle School in Greece. County Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza says she went to work at Arcadia on March 4th with symptoms of a cold, and only this week did staff at Unity Hospital confirm she had the disease. Dr. Mendoza says all Arcadia Middle School students and staff should be self-monitoring for symptoms of coronavirus, and Greece Central School District Superintendent Kathy Graupman says she is closing all Greece schools until further notice.

Dr. Mendoza says the decision to close Greece schools is not taken lightly. He says care has to be given to where the children go when they're not in school. If they all go to the same place, then the purpose of closing schools is defeated.

Mendoza says he "strongly encourages" other school districts to close down, and will be meeting with superintendents today and tomorrow to discuss the issue.

Health Department staff has been working to track the new patient's contacts, and believe hers is Monroe County's first case of community transmission of the virus. She had no contact with the other patient or with people who had been in other countries where the virus is prevalent.

Other suspected cases are being tested in Monroe County, one source tells WHAM 1180 as many as eight people. But those test results have not yet come in.

County officials continue to recommend hand washing and keeping your distance from other people as ways to avoid infection. Medical officials say to call your doctor or a health center first if you have symptoms of the disease. Don't just go to an emergency department or clinic without calling ahead, because you might be putting the staff at risk.

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