Local Matters

Community Sponsors

coronavirus

April 1, 2020 - 4:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

Press release:

New Cases

  • As of 2 p.m. today:
    • Genesee County received three new positive cases of COVID-19 for a total of 16 positive cases;
    • One under the age of 65 residing in the central part of Genesee County;
    • One under the age of 65 residing in the western part of Genesee County;
    • One under the age of 65 residing in the western part of Genesee County;
    • For Orleans: Has no new cases and is at a total of six positive cases;
    • In Genesee County, two individuals that were under mandatory quarantine tested positive and are now under mandatory isolation.
  • Contact tracing has been initiated for all the new cases. Known contacts have already been placed under mandatory quarantine and will be swabbed if indicated (if symptoms become present). If a person is identified as a contact, they will be notified by the County Health Department, quarantined and if warranted, swabbed if indicated. Limited information is provided to the public in compliance with HIPAA regulations and out of the respect of those impacted by this virus. When, and if, there is a situation where potential contact is made in a public location where contact tracing doesn’t have actual names we will send out a media announcement to help seek contacts. Some in the community continue to voice requests about knowing the locations of individuals who have tested positive, those who are being monitored and where they have been in the county so that they may know where to avoid. The current situation is that every place is potentially a location that you could catch the virus. If would be a disservice to our communities to share specific locations that could indicate that there is any area in either county that is unaffected by the threat of COVID-19. Please stay at home as much as possible, please stay home if you are sick, please encourage others to do the same and please show kindness to others.

Cumulative Data

covidchargeapril12020.png

  • Healthcare providers are advising patients undergoing swabbing that are symptomatic (based on availability and screening for high-risk) for COVID-19 to self-isolate until test results are received and COVID-19 is ruled out.  Follow your healthcare provider’s advice.
  • Currently, NYS clearance protocol for discontinuation of mandatory isolation for persons with confirmed COVID-19 is the following: it has been at least 7 days since the initial positive test for COVID-19, at least three days without fever and no use of fever-reducing medication, and improvement in the signs and symptoms of the illness. Swabbing through the Health Departments is warranted as part of our quarantine/isolation protocol for those who become symptomatic. We are not providing community testing at this time. We will be announcing further information on this as local capacity increases.

OPERATIONAL UPDATES

  • Please remain home if ill, even if a person has a negative COVID-19 result it is important to continue to limit physical contact. Flu and COVID-19 are still transmittable and people should continue to remain home and limiting contact with others. If you work with a vulnerable population, self-monitor prior to going to work, if you become sick while at work, contact your supervisor immediately and leave the premises to decrease the risk of contact with others. When not working, follow social distancing and limit time in public.
  • Medical Concerns: If you feel you may have COVID-19, call your primary care provider or healthcare facility ahead of time. DO NOT GO DIRECTLY THERE, CALL AHEAD TO GET GUIDANCE. Swabbing will be based on those who are in higher-risk categories – elderly and immune-compromised and those with underlying health issues.
    • Swab sample results are coming back slower than expected. With more testing, we expect this will continue. Whenever anyone is swabbed for potential COVID-19, self-isolation is advised until the test result is received.
  • Take media breaks: If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, fear about this outbreak call the Care + Crisis Helpline at 585-283-5200, text 741741 or call the NYS COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 884-863-9314, they have trained listeners available 24/7 to help you through this.
  • Nature Breaks and Parks: We are getting reports of groups not practicing social distancing. This is not a time for playgroups. Parents remind your children they are to keep their distance from non-household members to limit the spread of disease. State Parks are free with limited services available. Local parks may close or limit access to adhere to state guidelines.

FRAUD ALERT – Watch out for Scams!

  • At this time there are no FDA-approved drugs or treatments for COVID-19.
  • There are also no over-the-counter COVID-19 tests. If you get an email, phone call, offer by mail or other solicitation for these scams, hang up and ignore them.
  • This is a very important warning to reinforce for every County resident.
  • The best medical advice for you comes from your healthcare provider.

NEW YORK STATE CASES / RESTRICTIONS / GUIDANCE

  • Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today at his press conference there are now a total of 83,712 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in NYS.
  • 12,226 (15 percent) COVID-19 patients are hospitalized.
  • The Governor has extended NY PAUSE program (nonessential workers down to 0 percent) until April 15; this will be evaluated every two weeks.
  • New Yorkers without health insurance can apply through NY State of Health within 60 days of losing coverage. https://nystateofhealth.ny.gov/
  • The President and CDC have ordered a travel advisory (NY, NJ & CT) – this is not a lockdown, these federal actions support state actions to date. It is OK to be outside in your yard, ride bikes, visit a state park for walks, to take rides in your vehicle, however congregating and taking the family shopping does not comply with social distancing (keeping 6 feet from others, limiting time out in public).
April 1, 2020 - 3:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, Andrew Cuomo.

Press release:

  • Governor Cuomo: "The fear that we have, the anxiety that we have, that's not just going to go away. When do we get back to normal? I don't think we get back to normal. I think we get back, or we get to a new normal. Right? Like we're seeing in so many facets of society right now. So we will be at a different place.
  • "Our challenge is to make sure that transformation and that change is positive and not negative. Let's make sure we're taking the positive lesson and not the negative lesson.
  • "The question is, how do you get up? ... We are in control of that. And we have to start to think about that. We also have to be smarter from what we went through. How do you make the economy more resilient? What happens when something like this happens again? And something like this will happen again."

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is below:

"As a society, beyond just this immediate situation, we should start looking forward to understanding how this experience is going to change us, or how it should change us, because this is going to be transformative. It is going to be transformative on a personal basis, on a social basis, on a systems basis. We're never going to be the same again. We're not going to forget what happened here.

"The fear that we have, the anxiety that we have, that's not just going to go away. When do we get back to normal? I don't think we get back to normal. I think we get back, or we get to a new normal. Right? Like we're seeing in so many facets of society right now. So we will be at a different place.

"Our challenge is to make sure that transformation and that change is positive and not negative. Let's make sure we're taking the positive lesson and not the negative lesson.

"You could get wary of intimacy, and contact, and density. "Social distancing, don't go near anyone." What a terrible thing to live with as a human being. What a cruel torture. "Isolate yourself from other people. Be afraid of hugging someone." Just think how emotionally and personally repugnant that concept is, right? We crave human connection, and now we're being told that could be dangerous. You can't kiss. You can't hug. You can't hold hands. So how we come out of this, and making sure that it's positive and not negative. How do we learn from this? And how do we grow from this, right?

"Society, life -- you will get knocked on your rear end. You will deal with pain. You will deal with death. You will deal with setback. You will deal with suffering. The question is, how do you get up? First, do you get up? And second, if you get up, how do you get up? Do you get up smarter? Do you get up wiser? Or do you get up bitter, and do you get up angry? And do you get up fearful? We are in control of that.

"And we have to start to think about that. We also have to be smarter from what we went through. How do you make the economy more resilient? What happens when something like this happens again? And something like this will happen again. 'Oh, no, this is a once in a lifetime, never again.' Something like this will happen again. We're seeing it in the environment. We're seeing it with floods, we're seeing it with hurricanes. Something like this will happen again. You can't just turn off the economy like a light switch.

"How do governments work together? You can't figure it out on the fly -- what the federal government does, what the state government does, what the local governments do. Figure it out before. Learn the lessons from this. Telemedicine, and tele-education. We have closed the schools. Well, why weren't we ready with a tele-education system? Why weren't we better with telemedicine? Why didn't we have the capacity to have that's lines on people coming in to give the same basic diagnosis and the same basic advice? Why don't we have medical supplies made in this country? Why are we shopping in china for basic medical supplies? Why don't we gear our medical research to these types of threats and challenges, which we know are on the horizon? We know these viruses are changing. We know they mutate. Why don't we get ahead of it?

"You still have to run society. Let's talk about first responder capacity. We now have first responders who are getting sick, and the workforce is dropping. That was inevitable, right? That was going to happen. What's the backup to that situation? And let's talk about societal stability, and engagement at times of crisis. You can't just tell everyone, "go home and lock your doors and sit on your couch and order takeout," for the foreseeable future. That's not who we are. It's not even a mental health issue. It's just, it's a personal health issue. It's how we relate to one another. We're not built to be isolated for long periods of time and not have human contact. So how do we deal with that?

"And these are the types of questions that we have to start to think through. But not today. That is the next challenge, I believe. And that is what we're going to have to think about soon. But for now, one crisis at a time, as they say. And we are planning to handle the current crisis, preparing for the battle on the mount, which is what we are doing every day. And that's what we are doing. And not only are we doing it, but we have to succeed at it. You know? Government process is very good at saying, 'well, we're trying. We're working on this. We're doing our best. We're doing our best.'

"Winston Churchill, 'it is no use saying we're doing our best. You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.' Tad harsh goes with that expression, which I think you could say, a tad harsh. Handsome, but a tad harsh, but it's true. And that's what I say to my team every day. This is beyond best efforts. This is beyond, 'I'm working very hard.' We have to get this done. We have succeeded. We have to find a way. We have to make it happen because too much is at stake."

April 1, 2020 - 3:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, covid-10, coronavirus.

Press release:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York-based Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is creating 500,000 test kits for the State at no charge amid a nationwide shortage of test kits and swabs.

The first batch of test kits was delivered to the State on Monday and the State will receive an ongoing delivery of 25,000 kits per day.

Additionally, Corning has donated 100,000 tubes and provided an additional 500,000 tubes to the State at reduced cost and expedited delivery, and Puritan has sold medical swabs to the State. To date, the State has tested 220,880 individuals, with 15,694 new people tested just yesterday.

Governor Cuomo also announced that New York City playgrounds will close to address the lack of adherence to social distancing protocols. Open spaces in New York City will remain open.

Additionally, the Governor announced the launch of a new PSA (Public Service Announcement) that provides information on how to apply for unemployment benefits and reassures New Yorkers if their unemployment filing is delayed, they will still receive full unemployment benefits. The PSA is also available with Spanish subtitles here.

The Governor also reminded New Yorkers to complete the 2020 Census online, by telephone or by mail.

"New York has been very aggressive on testing from day one -- so far we have tested more than 220,000 New Yorkers with more than 15,000 new tests every day -- and it has helped us slow the spread of this virus," Governor Cuomo said. "Rapid testing is the fastest way to return to normalcy and get the economy back up and running, and will also help end the anxiety that has become the most oppressive part of this situation.

"We now have new testing capacity in New York thanks to donations from Regeneron and Corning so we can continue our work to plan forward and prepare for when the apex of the curve hits our healthcare system. In the meantime, New Yorkers must continue to comply with all social distancing protocols and stay home as much as possible to prevent spreading this virus to others."

April 1, 2020 - 2:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, coronavirus, economic impact payments.

Press release:

Check IRS.gov for the latest information: No action needed by most people at this time.

IR-2020-61, March 30, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service on Monday announced that distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. However, some seniors and others who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the stimulus payment.

Who is eligible for the economic impact payment?

Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000 / $150,000 thresholds. Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible.

Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples. Parents also receive $500 for each qualifying child.

April 1, 2020 - 12:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, news, arts, entertainment, covid-19, coronavirus.

GO ART! and The Batavian are teaming up to bring you a live arts event with an art contest, presentation of the Genean Awards, live performances, and a virtual tour of GO ART's gallery on April 15.

From GO ART! Executive Director Gregory Hallock:

GO ART! is seeking artists and heroes of all age levels to create a piece of art, in any media or size, in the theme of "Quarantine" and email a picture with the creator's name, grade level -- UPK - K, 1 - 2, 3 - 5, 6 - 8, 9 -12, college students, and adults (ones not doing the school thing anymore) -- to [email protected] by April 10th.

Pictures will go live on GO ART!'s Facebook page on April 11th. The one with the most likes between April 11th and 14th will win the grand prize. A jury will also pick a winner from each grade-level category.

Winners and prizes will be announced live on The Batavian at https://www.thebatavian.com between 7 and 8 p.m. on April 15th.

I promise ye will like them.

The winners of the Genean Awards, GO ART!'s Arts and Culture Awards, live performances, a tour of GO ART!'s galleries and Genean's (GO ART!'s) birthday will all be a part of the hour-long event on April 15th. Artists, heroes, and villagers are all invited to attend.

Watch the video and see Hallock read a COVID-19 version of Kelly DiPucchio's children's book, "Dragon was Terrible."

April 1, 2020 - 11:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in live stream, video, crossroads house, news, covid-19, coronavirus.
Video Sponsor

Interview with Jeff Allen, executive director of Crossroads House. 

In the interview, Allen talks about the decision to pause resident care at Crossroads House while continuing to provide services to the community.

He also fills us in on plans for the "Corona Convoy" organized by Bruce Scofield. Allen, who is trained in disaster response and crisis care, also shares his advice for the community and individuals.

If anyone wants to join the convoy on Sunday, contact Scofield at (585) 704-7482.

March 31, 2020 - 7:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

d670659b-d92f-46ee-b354-a4a7ed0c1e4c.jpg

In early March, the U.S. Surgeon General, Jerome M. Adams, told Americans to stop buying masks.

With very good reason: if the general public buys up the supply of masks, especially all of the N95 masks (the best at blocking airborne viruses from entering your respiratory system), there wouldn't be enough for the people who really need them, such as doctors and nurses.

But many health care experts have been questioning recently the rest of the surgeon general's message: That masks are ineffective at protecting you from coronavirus.

Now the Center for Disease Control is considering rescinding its recommendation against general public mask wearing.

Before we discuss why it might be a good idea for all people in public to wear masks, let's remember the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is:

With that knowledge, should you worry about package delivery? The experts say, "no." The risk is very low.

What about food delivery and take out? Again, the risk is very low, and COVID-19 is a respiratory illness and even if it were to enter your digestive system, it wouldn't survive to infect you.

However, it's always good to remember when dealing with other people or touching surfaces, maintain social distancing and wash or sanitize your hands immediately.

Service workers should sanitize their hands after every exchange.

Now, about masks.

It's important to know, masks by themselves won't protect you. Even the best N95 mask is imperfect protection and surgical mask, the kind that loosely covers your nose and mouth, is designed to protect others from germs you might be spreading, not to protect you. Because they don't form a tight seal around your nose and mouth, air (which can contain droplets containing the virus) flows around the edges of the mask into your respiratory system.

Here's the argument for masks:

  • You can contract coronavirus and be infectious without showing any symptoms or showing only minor symptoms. That means you could potentially be a carrier of COVID-19 and not know it. If you go into public you can spread SARS-CoV-2 to other people and never know it. If you're wearing a mask, you present much less of a risk to other people, people who might be much more susceptible to the disease.
  • There is much that scientists don't know about COVID-19 but there is a theory that viral load (how much virus a person breaths in before the infection takes hold) affects health outcomes. There is some speculation that wearing a mast might reduce the viral load if you are exposed to the SARS-CoV-2. We don't know, but as one medical journal noted, the lack of evidence for effectiveness isn't proof of ineffectiveness.
  • If more people wear masks in public, it will reduce the social embarrassment or stigmatization associated with wearing masks. 
  • And as Dr. Neil Aberneth noted in our discussion today, maintaining your mental health is important during this pandemic and if wearing a mask makes you feel more comfortable and safer in public, you should wear a mask.

Do you know where mask wearing is common? In South Korea, which, even though that country had its first official case of COVID-19 on the same day as the United States, has had far fewer positive cases and fewer deaths. 

So, should you go out and buy face masks? Well, even if you wanted to, good luck finding them. Surgical masks on Amazon.com won't be available until at least May. Besides, whatever supply of professionally made masts might be available should first go to health care professionals. That leaves, "Do It Yourself (DIY)." Below are some videos on making your own face mask.  

If you do wear a face mask here are some important guidelines from healthline.com:

  • Wearing a mask alone will not prevent you from getting a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Careful handwashing and social (physical) distancing must also be followed.
  • Wash your hands before you put on your mask.
  • If you are wearing a mask, avoid touching it the front of it. You can transfer the virus from your hands to the mask.
  • You can also transfer the virus from the mask to your hands. Wash your hands if you touch the front of the mask.
  • Know how to put on and remove a mask by touching the elastic ear straps only.
  • Do not wear a mask if you are healthy and in self-quarantine.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing. This may help prevent spreading the virus to others.
  • If you think you may have the SARS-CoV-2 infection, wear a mask. You can spread the virus even if you don’t have any symptoms.
  • Wear a mask if you are caring for someone who may have a SARS-CoV-2 infection or COVID-19 disease. It may help prevent you from catching the infection.
  • Don’t write your name or initials on your mask as that will inactivate it.
  • Do not reuse a worn mask. It may have the virus on it.
  • Throw away used masks in a closed bin.

Related Links:

Here are a couple of videos from YouTube about making face masks at home. There are dozens of others if you search for them. There are a lot of options. Just remember, don't buy them (you probably can't anyway), make them.

And if you're willing and able to make them for other people, drop me a line, [email protected], with information on how people can get them, and we'll compile and publish a list.

March 31, 2020 - 5:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, Le Roy, our lady of mercy, bells.

Press release: 

On Sunday, Dec. 8th, 10:30 a.m. the bells at Our Lady of Mercy rang out for the first time since spring of 2017, after extensive work to replace the mechanisms that ring the bells, including the motors, the striker, and controller. The ceremonial ringing included a blessing of the new system by Fr. Matthew H. Phelan, O. de M., pastor.

Since that time, each day, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., the bells have tolled in clock tower fashion at the top of the hour with a single toll at the bottom of the hour. In addition, the Angelus bell — a call to prayer for Catholics — has rung at noon and 6 p.m. [The traditional 6 a.m. ring is bypassed out of respect for local codes.] On weekends, a call to prayer rings 5 minutes before each Sunday Mass.

This past weekend, a request was made by some neighbors to alter the ringing schedule out of consideration for health care professionals who were working overnight hours due to the COVID-19 crisis. The pastor decided to temporarily silence the bells in order to consult with the pastoral council and weigh the opinions of parishioners and the citizens of Le Roy. After a weekend of consultation, lively discussion through social media, silence, and prayerful consideration, it has been determined that bells shall be programmed according to the following parameters:

While the COVID-19 (coronavirus) social distancing guidelines are in place for the State of New York:

  • The church bells will continue to ring the Angelus at noon and 6pm.
  • In addition to the Angelus, the bells will ring a traditional “death knell,” or funeral tollat 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to call to mind those who of have died due to this pandemic and as
  • reminder to pray for all those who place their lives in danger for others.

The first day social distancing guidelines are lifted:

  • The bells will ring in celebration at 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

  • The funeral toll will ring at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

  • The Angelus will ring at noon and 6 p.m.

Following this day of both celebration and prayer, the bells will return to the previous ringing pattern that followed the repairs.

Our Lady of Mercy Parish, 44 Lake St., Le Roy, is a ministry of the Order of the B.V.M. of Mercy - Mercedarian Friars.

March 31, 2020 - 4:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

COVID-19 Update from the Genesee/Orleans Health Department:

New Cases

  • As of 2 p.m. today:
    • Genesee County received one new positive cases of COVID-19 for a total of 13 positive cases;
    • One under the age of 65 residing in the central part of Genesee County;
    • For Orleans: one new positive case of COVID-19 for a total of six positive cases;
    • Individual is under the age of 65 and is a resident of the central part of the county;
    • None of the new positive cases were under precautionary or mandatory quarantine when they became symptomatic and are not believed to be connected.
  • Contact tracing has been initiated for all the new cases. Known contacts have already been placed under mandatory quarantine and will be swabbed if indicated (if symptoms becomes present). If a person is identified as a contact, they will be notified by the County Health Department, quarantined and if warranted, swabbed if indicated. Limited information is provided to the public in compliance with HIPAA regulations and out of the respect of those impacted by this virus. When, and if, there is a situation where potential contact is made in a public location where contact tracing doesn’t have actual names we will send out a media announcement to help seek contacts.

covidgridmarch31png.png

Cumulative Data

  • Healthcare providers are advising patients undergoing swabbing that are symptomatic (based on availability and screening for high-risk) for COVID-19 to self-isolate until test results are received and COVID-19 is ruled out.Follow your healthcare provider’s advice.
  • Currently, NYS clearance protocol for discontinuation of mandatory isolation for persons with confirmed COVID-19 is the following: it has been at least seven days since the initial positive test for COVID-19, at least three days without fever and no use of fever-reducing medication, and improvement in the signs and symptoms of the illness. Swabbing through the Health Departments is warranted as part of our quarantine / isolation protocol for those who become symptomatic. We are not providing community testing at this time. We will be announcing further information on this as local capacity increases.

OPERATIONAL UPDATES

  • Please remain home if ill, even if a person has a negative COVID-19 result it is important to continue to limit physical contact. Flu and COVID-19 are still transmittable and people should continue to remain home and limiting contact with others. Do not be afraid of people because they may be coughing or sneezing, they may have allergies, but continue to keep your distance (at least 6 feet).
  • Medical Concerns: If you feel you may have COVID-19, call your primary care provider or healthcare facility ahead of time. DO NOT GO DIRECTLY THERE, CALL AHEAD TO GET GUIDANCE. Swabbing will be based on those who are in higher risk categories – elderly and immune compromised and those with underlying health issues.
    • Swab sample results are coming back slower than expected. With more testing, we expect this will continue. Whenever anyone is swabbed for potential COVID-19, self-isolation is advised until the test result is received.
  • Respect / Social Responsibility / Fear mongering / Consequences –Health Departments are mandated to adhere to HIPAA regulations therefore we are not releasing potential identifying information of anyone who is under our care.
    • If during contact tracing there is an issue of missing potential contacts we will provide locations. Not everyone who coughs or sneezes has a respiratory virus. People need to be respectful of the process and the guidance surrounding social distancing. COVID-19 is now community transmissible therefore people need to take social distancing seriously.
    • There are consequences for not adhering to the directives. Noncompliance may prolong the spread of COVID-19 as well as increasing the spread which can overwhelm our healthcare systems and put our vulnerable populations at increased risk.
    • Sticking to the basics: limiting exposure to the public, frequent handwashing, staying home if ill with any respiratory illness, keeping 6 feet of distance from other people and sharing creative ideas to keep in touch with family and friends are what we need.
  • Take media breaks: Talking about who has or hasn’t been tested, is sick or sharing rumors about anything COVID-19 is increasing anxiety in many people. Be respectful and stay home as much as possible. It is safe to go outside or for a ride, but be mindful to keep at least 6’ distance between other people. If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, fear about this outbreak call the Care + Crisis Helpline at 585-283-5200, text 741741 or call the NYS COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 884-863-9314, they have trained listeners available 24/7 to help you through this.
  • Community Spread: Means you can get it from respiratory droplets from infected people and on any surface as long as the virus is still viable. If you touch a door handle, counter, etc. that has the virus on it, then touch a mucous membrane (nose, mouth, eyes) you can introduce the virus into your body. Identifying a store or business where people may have been doesn’t help because the virus is everywhere and can give a false sense of security that the virus isn’t somewhere else. Limiting trips to the store and designating only one person for shopping can lower the risk of spreading the virus. With the rising numbers, it is important to know the social distancing guidance will work but it takes time before we can see the results. The coming weeks are most critical in determining how many lives can be saved in our communities by staying safer at home, social distancing, and having good hand (wash often) and cough (do not cough in your hand, but in a disposable tissue or your elbow) hygiene.
  • Nature Breaks and Parks: We are getting reports of groups not practicing social distancing. Many parks have roped off areas of their parks to discourage group play (basketball, football, soccer, using shared equipment or frequently touched surfaces such as the playground equipment). This is not a time for playgroups. Parents remind your children they are to keep their distance from non-household members to limit the spread of disease. State Parks are free with limited services available. They are encouraging New Yorkers to recreate locally, practice social distancing, and use common sense to protect themselves and others. Contact your local park for specific information on any changes to their operations in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
    • Guidance on Responsible Recreations During the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis:http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/administration_pdf/decparkscovid19guide.pdf
    • Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation COVID-19 Updates: https://parks.ny.gov/covid19/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery
    • If parking lots are full, come back another time or go to another area of the park. Remember to be safe whenever you are hiking in parks.
    • Avoid games and activities that require close contact, frequently touched surfaces such as playground equipment
    • Maintain social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others, even when outdoors
    • It is safe to be outside in your backyard or other personal outdoor space. If riding bikes, keep your distance (6 feet) from non-household people.

FRAUD ALERT – Watch out for Scams!

  • At this time there are no FDA-approved drugs or treatments for COVID-19.
  • There are also no over-the-counter COVID-19 tests. If you get an email, phone call, offer by mail or other solicitation for these scams, hang up and ignore them.
  • This is a very important warning to reinforce for every County resident.
  • The best medical advice for you comes from your healthcare provider.

NEW YORK STATE CASES / RESTRICTIONS / GUIDANCE

  • Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today at his 11:30 a.m. press conference there are a total 75,795 confirmed positive cases in NYS.
  • 10,929 (14 percent) COVID-19 patients are hospitalized.
  • The Governor has extended NY PAUSE program (nonessential workers down to 0 percent) until April 15; this will be evaluated every two weeks
  • New Yorkers without health insurance can apply through NY State of Health within 60 days of losing coverage.https://nystateofhealth.ny.gov/
  • The President and CDC have ordered a travel advisory (NY, NJ & CT) – this is not a lock down, these federal actions support state actions to date. It is OK to be outside in your yard, ride bikes, visit a state park for walks, to take rides in your vehicle, however congregating and taking the family shopping does not comply with social distancing (keeping 6 feet from others, limiting time out in public).
March 31, 2020 - 2:45pm

Greg Kinal, Pembroke Teachers Association president, has put out a letter to the Pembroke school community calling for a "Thinking of You" drive-by parade along a route now being planned. Participants are to assemble in the Pembroke High School parking lot at 12:30 p.m. Friday, April 3.

Here's the letter:

Dear Pembroke School Community:

As we continue with this terrible event in our lives, I thought it would be nice to take a break, have some fun, boost some spirits, and come together (separately) as a school community and tell this great school district how much they mean to us.

Therefore, the PTF would like to invite everyone to join us in a “WE’RE THINKING OF YOU” parade this Friday, April 3.

We will meet at 12:30 p.m. at the High School parking lot to get organized. The PTF will have washable markers for you to write on your back windows or you can make your own signs. At 1:00 we begin with Officer Reeves leading the way with lights blazing. The route will be established by Donna Hackett and we are planning on arriving back at school around 3:00.

The PTF has invited the SRP (School-Related Professionals) union to join us and I have been told that a number of empty buses will be in our parade. I have been informed that the fire companies will be represented. We would also consider it an honor to have our administrators with us as well as the whole school community.

Please keep in mind that:

  • At all times we must keep the 6 foot distance between us.
  • Everyone will be in their own cars, so invite any family member to join you. 
  • Please use the bathroom prior to coming to school, as entering the building would be counterproductive to distancing.
  • If you have masks, wear them.
  • Patrick will speak to all of us in the parking lot prior to leaving so we know what his plan is to keep us all together.
  • We will announcing this event on Facebook, Twitter and other venues so families are aware of the parade.

PTF members who plan on attending please email your building reps who will then pass the numbers along to me. SRP’s please contact Cheryl who will also pass the number to me. Administration and all others please make your intentions known by emailing me. If we could all do this by Thursday, April 2, that would be appreciated and once Patrick has the number he will have ample time to assess his traffic plan. 

On a personal note, my wife, who has been really Roswell (-bound) and housebound for months will be joining us.

With great respect to you and I hope to see everyone on Friday.

Questions? Email me.

Greg 

[email protected]

March 31, 2020 - 1:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, video, live stream.
Video Sponsor

Dr. Neil Abernethy is an associate professor of Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education at the University of Washington. His research is focused on public health informatics, epidemic models and epidemiology in the context of global health.

He has worked on models to predict public health impacts of vaccine resistance as well as infectious disease surveillance and spread.

We will be discussing contact tracing, how the virus is spread, what that means for social distancing and mask wearing.

March 31, 2020 - 11:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, City Fire, news, video, live stream.
Video Sponsor

We talking with Stefano Napolitano, City of Batavia fire chief.

March 30, 2020 - 11:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, covid-19, coronavirus.

img_20200330_232523.jpg

Pat Burk shared this photo tonight of his residence in Batavia where a string of lights now shine with a positive message for the community.

March 30, 2020 - 9:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, sports, elba.
Video Sponsor

The Elba Lady Lancers released their quarantine workout video today -- no wonder they've won four straight sectional titles.

March 30, 2020 - 9:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, news, covid-19, coronavirus.
Video Sponsor

This is audio from today's special hour-long Main and Center on WBTA: "COVID-19: A Local View," hosted by Dan Fischer.

Guests included:

  • Dr. Tara Gellasch, Chief Medical Officer of UMMC
  • Dr. Danielle Notebaert, Chief of Emergency Medicine at UMMC
  • Timothy Yeager, Coordinator of Genesee County Emergency Management
  • and Mari Hamilton, Public Health Educator, Genesee Orleans Health Depts.

NOTE: This was recorded before the afternoon announcement of a local death and new additional cases.

March 30, 2020 - 4:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, coronavirus, BJs Warehouse.

Press release:

As part of our efforts to do everything we can to safely serve your needs, BJ's Wholesale Club has made the decision to temporarily suspend the use of paper coupons in our clubs in order to reduce touchpoints and help mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

For the safety of you and our team members, until further notice, our clubs will not be accepting any paper coupons starting today -- March 30.

Your coupon savings are not going away. All of the BJ's coupons in the BJ's Savings Book will now have a clipless coupon. This means the savings will be automatically deducted from the price when you check out. You'll also see the savings on the price signs in our clubs and in your online cart on BJs.com.

A large assortment of manufacturer-published coupons are available to you for use through the BJ's mobile app and on BJs.com. By clipping these coupons online or on your app, you'll be able to use them in clubs or on BJs.com, without the need for paper.

Given the high demand for food and household essentials, we are working hard to replenish items as quickly as we can. We appreciate your patience and understanding that we may be out of stock of some items, including items that may be shown in our BJ's Savings Book.

In Genesee County, BJ's is located in the shopping plaza at 8330 Lewiston Road.

March 30, 2020 - 3:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news.
Video Sponsor

Genesee County COVID-19 briefing March 20, 2020

UPDATE: A COVID-19 patient has died, the first coronavirus case reported in Genesee County. There are now 12 positive cases in Genesee County. There have been 122 negative tests. The 12 positive cases count includes the fatality. There are 11 people recovering at home, including two people who had been previously hospitalized. None of the patients who tested positive have yet been released from mandatory isolation. There are now 36 people in Genesee County under mandatory quarantine.

Press release:

“Today, I am reporting that an individual (over 65 years of age and who had underlying health conditions) who tested positive for COVID-19 has passed away,” said Paul Pettit, director of the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments. “This is our first confirmed death related to COVID-19 in Genesee County.

"Due to privacy issues, I will be not releasing further details about this individual. I would like to express my sincerest sympathy for the individual’s family and friends.”

“I am deeply saddened to learn from Paul Pettit of the death of a resident of our county,” said Rochelle Stein, chair of the Genesee County Legislature. "Our entire community grieves this loss. My heart is with the resident’s family, and I ask the community to join me in keeping them in our thoughts and prayers.”

“We continue to encourage social distancing, especially if you have older family members or family with underlying health conditions,” Pettit said. “If you are unwell with any symptoms, please limit contact with our most vulnerable population. Keep in touch by phone, FaceTime, cards, and/or letters so your loved ones know they are being thought of.

"Ask other family or friends who are not sick or potentially exposed to check in on your loved ones and/or assist with errands.”

Written briefing:

New Cases

  • We have learned a Genesee County resident of the central area of the county has died due to complications associated with COVID-19. The individual was over 65, hospitalized and had underlying health conditions. We are respecting the privacy of the individual and their family members and will not be releasing any further information.
  • As of 2 p.m. today:
    • Genesee County received three new positive cases of COVID-19 for a total of 12 positive cases
    • One under the age of 65 residing in eastern Genesee County
    • One under the age of 65 residing in eastern Genesee County
    • One above the age of 65 residing in central Genesee County
    • For Orleans: One new positive case of COVID-19 for a total of five positive cases
    • Individual is over the age of 65 and is a resident of the eastern part of the county.
    • None of the new positive cases were under precautionary or mandatory quarantine when they became symptomatic and are not believed to be connected.
  • Contact tracing has been initiated for all the new cases. Known contacts have already been placed under mandatory quarantine and will be swabbed if indicated (if symptoms becomes present). If a person is identified as a contact, they will be notified by the County Health Department, quarantined and if warranted, swabbed if indicated. Limited information is provided to the public in compliance with HIPAA regulations and out of the respect of those impacted by this virus. When, and if, there is a situation where potential contact is made in a public location where contact tracing doesn’t have actual names we will send out a media announcement to help seek contacts.

Cumulative Data

  • To Date: Genesee County has received 122 negative test results and Orleans County has received 87 negative test results for COVID-19. These negative tests give us a good indicator of what’s going on in our community. As discussed before, Flu continues to be prevalent with seven in Orleans and nine in Genesee for the week ending March 21. This data continues to show a high number of respiratory illness in our counties is not COVID-19.
  • Orleans County: Five people are under precautionary quarantine; nine people are under mandatory quarantine; and five people are under mandatory isolation, two of whom are hospitalized and three are recovering at home (one out of county).
  • Genesee County: 13 people are under precautionary quarantine, 37 people are under mandatory quarantine, and 11 people are recovering under mandatory isolation at home.
  • Healthcare providers are advising patients undergoing swabbing that are symptomatic (based on availability and screening for high-risk) for COVID-19 to self-isolate until test results are received and COVID-19 is ruled out. Follow your healthcare provider’s advice.
  • Currently, NYS clearance protocol for discontinuation of mandatory isolation for persons with confirmed COVID-19 is the following: it has been at least seven days since the initial positive test for COVID-19, at least three days without fever and no use of fever-reducing medication, and improvement in the signs and symptoms of the illness. Swabbing through the Health Departments is warranted as part of our quarantine / isolation protocol for those who become symptomatic. We are not providing community testing at this time. We will be announcing further information on this as local capacity increases.

OPERATIONAL UPDATES

  • Please remain home if ill, even if a person has a negative COVID-19 result it is important to continue to limit physical contact. Flu and COVID-19 are still transmittable and people should continue to remain home and limiting contact with others. Do not be afraid of people because they may be coughing or sneezing, they may have allergies, but continue to keep your distance (at least 6 feet).
  • Medical Concerns: If you feel you may have COVID-19, call your primary care provider or healthcare facility ahead of time. DO NOT GO DIRECTLY THERE, CALL AHEAD TO GET GUIDANCE. Swabbing will be based on those who are in higher risk categories – elderly and immune compromised and those with underlying health issues.
    • Swab sample results are coming back slower than expected. With more testing, we expect this will continue. Whenever anyone is swabbed for potential COVID-19, self-isolation is advised until the test result is received.
  • Respect / Social Responsibility / Fear mongering / Consequences – Health Departments are mandated to adhere to HIPAA regulations therefore we are not releasing potential identifying information of anyone who is under our care.
    • If during contact tracing there is an issue of missing potential contacts we will provide locations. Not everyone who coughs or sneezes has a respiratory virus. People need to be respectful of the process and the guidance surrounding social distancing. COVID-19 is now community transmissible therefore people need to take social distancing seriously.
    • There are consequences for not adhering to the directives.Noncompliance may prolong the spread of COVID-19 as well as increasing the spread which can overwhelm our healthcare systems and put our vulnerable populations at increased risk.
    • Sticking to the basics: limiting exposure to the public, frequent handwashing, staying home if ill with any respiratory illness, keeping a 6-feet distance from other people and sharing creative ideas to keep in touch with family and friends are what we need.
  • Take media breaks:Talking about who has or hasn’t been tested, is sick or sharing rumors about anything COVID-19 is increasing anxiety in many people. Be respectful and stay home as much as possible. It is safe to go outside or for a ride, but be mindful to keep at least 6 feet distance between other people. If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, fear about this outbreak call the Care + Crisis Helpline at 585-283-5200, text 741741 or call the NYS COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 884-863-9314, they have trained listeners available 24/7 to help you through this.
  • Community Spread: Locations of positive cases are not indicative (telling) of where potential exposures can occur. It is not necessary to know locations as the virus is considered to be everywhere. That is why we encourage everyone to follow social distancing guidelines, frequent handwashing, practice proper cough/sneeze hygiene (not in your hands, but in a disposable tissue or your elbow) and disinfecting of frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Snowbirds are returning to our counties: Snowbird Guidance is being developed and will be posted on our websites (under Coronavirus General Public), social media and through the Genesee and Orleans County Offices for the Aging. We encourage all who are returning home from travel to self-isolate and monitor your health.
    • If you become symptomatic, call your healthcare provider for guidance.
    • Some may be concerned about exposure when going for supplies and prescription refills – many stores and pharmacies are providing special hours for seniors and people with underlying healthcare issues. There are also several stores / restaurants that provide curbside pick-up and delivery services call ahead and ask.
    • Check in with family and friends and your social networks via phone or electronic means often to limit loneliness.

FRAUD ALERT – Watch out for Scams!

  • At this time there are no FDA-approved drugs or treatments for COVID-19.
  • There are also no over-the-counter COVID-19 tests. If you get an email, phone call, offer by mail or other solicitation for these scams, hang up and ignore them.
  • This is a very important warning to reinforce for every County resident.
  • The best medical advice for you comes from your healthcare provider.

NEW YORK STATE CASES / RESTRICTIONS / GUIDANCE

  • Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today at his 11:30 a.m. press conference there are a total 66,497 confirmed positive cases in NYS.
  • 9,517 (14 percent) COVID-19 patients are hospitalized.
  • The Governor has extended NY PAUSE program (nonessential workers down to 0 percent) until April 15; this will be evaluated every two weeks
  • Statewide school closures are extended by two weeks, until April 15 and will be reassessed then. Contact your school with any school related questions.
  • All non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason are temporarily banned.
  • The President and CDC have ordered a travel advisory (NY, NJ & CT) – this is not a lock down, these federal actions support state actions to date. It is OK to be outside in your yard, ride bikes, visit a state park for walks, to take rides in your vehicle, however congregating and taking the family shopping does not comply with social distancing (keeping 6 feet from others, limiting time out in public).
March 30, 2020 - 2:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, Andrew Cuomo.

Gov. Cuomo's daily briefing for March 30, 2020.

March 30, 2020 - 2:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, news, coronavirus.

Press release from CDC:

Due to extensive community transmission of COVID -19 in the area, CDC urges residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from nonessential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately.

This Domestic Travel Advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries, including but not limited to trucking, public health professionals, financial services, and food supply.

These employees of critical infrastructure, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, have a special responsibility to maintain normal work schedules. The Governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut will have full discretion to implement this Domestic Travel Advisory.

March 30, 2020 - 2:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in live stream, covid-19, news, video, coronavirus, county government.
Video Sponsor

Interview with County Manager Jay Gsell. We're talking about how coronavirus is impacting the county budget.

Subscribe to

Calendar

S M T W T F S
 
 
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
 
 

Copyright © 2008-2019 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
 

blue button