First COVID-19 Patient in Rochester Confirmed

Mar. 12, 2020
Highland Hospital

Rochester, N.Y., March 12, 2020–Monroe County Department of Public Health notified Highland Hospital late on Wednesday that a positive COVID-19 result came back on a patient who was evaluated at the hospital on Tuesday. The patient is not seriously ill and is recuperating in home isolation. The patient did not come in contact with any other patients at Highland and the caregivers who examined him took all appropriate measures to avoid potential exposure to the virus.

“We want to recognize our physicians and staff, who were prepared to receive the patient quickly and conduct the test, following all protocols outlined by the CDC and the New York State Department of Health,” said Bilal Ahmed, M.D., Associate Medical Director. “This assured the safety of the patient, all other patients and staff members at Highland and his health care team,”

Since the novel coronavirus became a public health concern, Highland Hospital and the UR Medicine system have been getting ready to care for patients safely. Highland has established a COVID-19 Task Force that is meeting regularly and implementing a comprehensive operational plan. The group is coordinating with UR Medicine system efforts as well as County and State Health Departments and the CDC.

“Highland is prepared to meet the needs of our community,” said Cindy Becker, Vice President and COO. “We’ve already implemented a number of processes and protocols to ensure the safety of our patients and caregivers, including screening protocols to identify patients who may be at risk for COVID-19 infection, and isolation processes and testing procedures that ensure safety.”

Every patient who is concerned they may have symptoms of COVID-19 should check in advance before visiting a doctor’s office, Urgent Care or ED. The UR Medicine COVID-19 website describes three ways to do this:


  • Use the MyChart patient portal to email members of your care team directly from a phone or computer.
  • Call their primary care, family medicine or pediatric practice, where UR Medicine nurses are prepared to screen potential COVID-19 patients.
  • Patients without a primary care provider can email, or call the UR Medicine COVID-19 support line at 1-888-928-0011 for advice.

About Highland Hospital

Founded in 1889, Highland Hospital has a history of innovative and personalized care. The hospital is a regional leader in specialties such as bariatric surgery, joint replacement, geriatric care, gynecologic oncology, prostate cancer treatment, women’s health services, and maternity. An affiliate of the University of Rochester Medical Center, the 261-bed organization and its 2,700 employees are committed to providing patient- and family-centered care. Go to or visit our Facebook page under Highland Hospital to learn more.


Note: We will not share information about patients tested, treated, or admitted for COVID-19 in order to protect their privacy as required by federal law. County and state health departments work in tandem for contact tracing and will notify people at risk per their protocols. All questions related to public safety should be directed to the appropriate governing agency