At least one person testing positive for COVID-19 after dozens of young people partied in the basement of a Pittsford home Aug. 23 has Monroe County’s top doctor warning that now is not the time to get lax with precautions.
“We’re coming up on the 14-day period before schools open,” Dr. Michael Mendoza, commissioner of the Monroe County Department of Public Health, said at a news conference Aug. 28.
The period for self-quarantine after a potential exposure is 14 days.
Mendoza also that with Labor Day approaching, people to be cautious with their social calendars.
“We want people to be thinking about is now the right time to be taking trips outside the area,” he said. “Be thinking again about having gatherings in our homes, particularly large gatherings indoors with people who are not using precautions. This is not the right time to be taking these unnecessary risks.
“Likewise for visitors,” he said. “I understand summer is wrapping up and you want to see loved ones who are coming in. But again, think twice about inviting visitors from other areas. I don’t just mean other states where the prevalence might be high. These could be visitors from other parts of New York state or people who you might believe are not taking appropriate precautions. At the end of the day, what really is the risk are these gatherings.”
Mendoza said the overall presence of illness in Monroe County is low. As of Aug. 30, the county had 281 active cases. There were 22 people in the Finger Lakes region who were hospitalized, and seven of those individuals were in intensive care but not necessarily on a ventilator.
Mendoza said the health department anticipates clusters and reacts quickly with contact tracing. He said that throughout the summer, whenever clusters of COVID-19 have occurred, people have been in gatherings – particularly indoors where people have not worn masks.
The health department learned about the Pittsford party on Aug. 27 when a person who attended had symptoms and tested positive. He said people involved in the party have been cooperative.
Mendoza said the person exposed an unknown number of others, most of whom are believed to be students in the Pittsford Central School District. The health department was told that partygoers were not wearing masks or strictly maintaining physical distancing.
Mendoza said anyone who was at the party should be alert for symptoms of COVID-19, including fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea. Symptoms can occur two to 14 days after exposure.
While the Rochester City School District has only remote learning for at least the first 10 weeks of the school year, other districts are combining remote and in-person instruction.
Mendoza acknowledged concerns from parents and teachers about COVID-19 testing protocols in districts that had in-person classes. He said anyone showing symptoms would need proof of a negative test and a doctor’s note before going back into a school building.
For more information on how to quarantine or get tested for COVID-19, call the Monroe County COVID-19 hotline at (585) 753-5555 or email COVID19@monroecounty.gov.