Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming officials wait for word on GCC mass vaccination site request
Genesee County Manager Matt Landers today said he is hopeful that an urgent request to the governor’s office to designate Genesee Community College as a COVID-19 mass vaccination will become a reality.
Legislative leaders and public health directors in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties last week sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to authorize the use of the GCC campus as a regional location to administer the vaccine.
“We remain optimistic at this point that our request will be heard,” Landers said during a Genesee County Legislature meeting at the Old County Courthouse. “There is some hope and optimism through discussions with the Finger Lakes (Region) control room.”
The letter stated that the three counties have experienced delays in testing supplies and now have not received enough vaccine, adding that “having a regional clinic with less than a half hour commute would benefit these communities."
Genesee County lawmakers are confident that they have enough staff and volunteers to vaccinate 2,000 or more people per day.
Copies of the letter were also sent to Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties state representatives, Assemblyman David DiPietro, Senator Patrick Gallivan, Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, Assemblyman Michael Norris, Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt, and Senator Edward Rath III.
On another front, Landers said that he and John Welch Jr., Orleans County chief administrative officer, were on a call with New York Association of Counties officials to talk about the two counties’ plan to build a joint jail on West Main Street Road in Batavia.
“We are focused on our joint jail and we talked about the history of the Genesee County Jail. And because of the governor’s budget wording, there is new, revised hope that there will be an opportunity (for it),” he said. “Obviously, we have a close partnership and a history of sharing with Orleans County – a willingness of two administrative bodies to do what is right for the taxpayers in the least costly manner.”
Landers said Genesee is moving forward with the project as it has asked a design firm to update its jail study to determine the proper number of beds.
“If they (Orleans County legislators) aren’t able to decide or meet the timeline we have … they could always jump in down the road (through) future expansion,” he said.
He also shared that in Albany County, excess jail beds were used to create a homeless shelter.
A report by Legislator Gary Maha indicated that if a federal stimulus plan passes in mid-March, counties who certify their COVID-related financial losses would be able to be reimbursed in 60 to 90 days.
In legislative action, Wade Schab of Alexander, a longtime parademic, was approved as a Genesee County coroner, replacing Jeff McIntire, who relocated to Florida.