County Executive Adam Bello Declares State of Emergency in Monroe County Due to Rising COVID-19 Hospitalizations

November 30th, 2021

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The county will also provide 750,000 rapid home test kits to residents to help ensure a safer holiday season.


Monroe County Executive Adam Bello today declared a state of emergency in Monroe County due to rising hospitalization rates related to COVID-19.

“The trigger for this state of emergency is not the number of new COVID infections, but rather the dramatic rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations, the increasing number of occupied ICU beds and the resulting impact on the ability of our hospitals to treat non-COVID-related acute care and emergency cases,” said County Executive Bello. “We need to flatten the curve of hospitalizations now, before this situation reverts to what we experienced last year when our hospitals were forced to cancel non-emergency – but necessary elective procedures like joint replacements, hernia surgery, spinal fusion, kidney stones and some cancer treatments.”

Bello announced the state of emergency during a Nov. 30 COVID-19 briefing with Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Michael Mendoza, University of Rochester Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Apostolakos and Rochester Regional Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Mayo.

There are no broad countywide mandates related to the state of emergency, however the County Executive enacted the first phase of a targeted and focused three-phase approach that takes aim at easing the burden that the increased spread of COVID is having on our hospital systems.

Phase 1 actions, effective at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, include:

  • A facemask requirement within all county operated facilities for both employees and members of the public. This includes the county office building, Monroe County Clerk’s office, City Place Building, DMVs, Monroe Community Hospital, the Fleet Center and county operated vaccine or testing sites.
  • The expansion of Monroe County rapid test operations in the City of Rochester, Greece, and Pittsford.
  • Reinstituting a work from home policy for those Monroe County employees who are able to do so.

The County Executive encourages local governments, public and private sector employers to follow suit by instituting masking requirements for their employees who work in close contact with other individuals – and to allow those employees who can, to work from home.

“Our tracking data shows that COVID infections largely spread in the workplace, at residential gatherings and at large indoor public events,” said Bello. “Phase 1 enacts common-sense proactive approaches to limit workplace infections through employee masking and having employees work from home when able to. These measures will remain in place until we have stabilized COVID hospitalizations and ICU occupancy so non-COVID acute care patients have the medical resources they need and deserve.”

In addition, Bello announced that Monroe County purchased 750,000 at-home rapid COVID-19 testing kits for distribution to county residents to help ensure safe gatherings over the holiday season. The test kits are free to county residents.  A distribution plan is under development and will be made public soon.

Bello said by year’s end, it will be apparent whether the common-sense approaches of Phase 1 are working and whether the county will be required to elevate the state of emergency to Phase 2, which would enact targeted masking mandates and implement a focused vaccine or test requirement for certain indoor gatherings and events.

He urged all residents to get vaccinated, get a booster shot if necessary and to wear a mask when inside public spaces.

Regional COVID statistics as of November 30, 2021

  • 31 out of every 100,000 residents in the Finger Lakes region is hospitalized due to COVID-19
  • In New York City – where vaccination rates are higher - there are five hospitalizations per 100,000 residents
  • 20% of all COVID-related ICU patients in New York state are in Finger Lakes-area hospitals
  • Of those hospitalized for COVID in Monroe County, 65% are not vaccinated
  • Of those in ICU for COVID, almost 80% are not vaccinated
  • Of those who are on a respirator for COVID, 82% are not vaccinated

“The facts and science show that the vast majority of people in hospitals with COVID could have avoided it simply by getting vaccinated,” said Bello. “Because of these preventable cases, those needing an ICU bed for unavoidable illness may have a lengthy wait for a bed to free up. This pandemic is with us until we approach a fully vaccinated population. If you won’t get vaccinated for yourself or your loved ones and their safety, please get vaccinated to allow others who need critical care to get the timely treatment they need and deserve.”