16,000 people have signed up; doctors say they need at least 50,000

ROCHESTER — It's called the ROC COVID-19 daily health screening. Once you sign in, you'll get an email every day asking you a basic question:

Do you have any of these COVID-19 symptoms?


New cough.

Hard time breathing.

Sore throat.

Body aches and loss of taste or smell.

"It's generally the first thing I do every morning when I check my email," Linda DiStefano of Gates said. "And this is one tiny thing I can do that maybe, at the end of all this, will say the data helped."

DiStefano is one of 16,000 people enrolled in the survey. That's a lot, but not enough to get an accurate picture.

Albert Blankley, CEO of Common Ground Health, said, "Our public health experts are telling us we'd really like to see 50,000 to 100,000 participating in this on a daily basis."

When asked whether the information would reveal whether this region is more or less sick than though, Dr. Michael Lonard of University of Rochester Medical Center responded, "Well, it could tell us either depending on the health of our community."

Leonard says they need more than just people who already have symptoms; they need healthy people, too.

"When we say everybody, we mean everybody," Leonard said.

The survey map shows another issue. Eight out of 10 people taking it live in Monroe County. Of those, most are in the suburbs, and most of them are in the east side towns, like Brighton, Pittsford, and Penfield.

So, they want more people from the city and the 10 counties in the region outside Monroe — Wayne, Seneca, Yates, Ontario, Steuben, Allegany, Livingston, Wyoming, Genesee and Orleans.

"Our hope is if we can get, as Dr. Leonard said, enough taking this, we will really understand what is happening with this virus locally, geographically," said Dr. Michael Hasselberg of URMC.

Sign up at https://roccovid.org/ to take part.