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Another week, another surge

Monroe County sees first COVID-19-related deaths

Another week of surges in positive COVID-19 cases led to the first deaths to come from the virus last week.

The week started with a gradual increase in positive cases.

The 23 confirmed cases on Tuesday, May 12, jumped to 26 on Wednesday, May 13, and 29 the following day.

Friday, May 15 saw another spike in the county, as that total number of positive cases shot up to 52.

That day also saw the first COVID-19-related death.

The alarming increase in COVID-19 cases caused the Monroe County Health Department to issue a statement, in which it offered sympathy to the family of the individual who passed away due to the virus.

The press release from the health department included a statement from the Stellar Care Center.

Stellar Care Center, the former Monroe County Care Center, had some of its residents and staff test positive for COVID-19 the week prior, which coincided with the first surge in positive cases in the county.

According to the statement, the care center took the step to test all residents at the facility after the first positive results.

When the facility started getting the results, it was unfortunately not what staff hoped for.

“Of the results we have, we have seen a sharp increase in the number of residents that have tested positive,” the statement reads. “Our main concern is not the number, but the people they represent. We are working tirelessly to contain this virus, and to treat those who have been impacted.”

The statement goes on to credit the staff members who continue to work with residents during the outbreak.

Understandably, families of residents have concerns or questions. They are recommended to email the facility at

In addition, family members are encouraged to continue to stay connected with residents by phone or video chat.

Family members and those eager to help the care center might be unable to offer face-to-face assistance at this time, but they still want to do something.

Stellar Care Center suggested “Stellar Hugs” on its Facebook page, recommending contributions of any kind determined by the giver’s talent.

“If your gift is encouragement through prayers and cards, we need that,” the post reads. “If your talent is crafting, ear savers and face masks are appreciated. If your talent is baking, your sweets can encourage and lift us up. Want to provide a meal for the facility or staff? That’s completely up to you. We just ask that you stay engaged, stay connected and send a ‘Stellar Hug’ in the best way you know how.”

The community responded, offering meals, crocheted items and baked goods throughout the week.

As of Tuesday, May 19, positive cases and deaths continue to increase.

There were 57 positive cases in the county, with one probable, and five COVID-19 related deaths.

Stellar Care Center released another statement Tuesday, May 19.

“Our hearts are heavy that this past week brought our first COVID-19-related deaths at Stellar Care Center,” the statement reads. “Our prayers go out to the families and friends of these sweet individuals. This virus is unlike anything we, or the country, have ever seen. But please know we are fighting day in and day out to prevent the spread and to care for the sick. We once again thank our amazing staff that continues to charge into the front lines to fight this unseen enemy. Please cloak them with your support.

“We ask for your continued support during these difficult times,” the statement continues. “Please take a moment to pray for all those who are impacted. It is with your help that we will get through this together.”

While Stellar Care Center has seen an increase in positive cases, the health department stresses that the virus is not limited to that facility.

“Even with the increase in positive COVID-19 cases at Stellar Care, we still have many residents throughout the county that are COVID-19 positive,” the department said on Facebook.