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coronavirus

September 27, 2021 - 4:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, UMMC, rochester reginal health, news, coronavirus.

Press release:

“Per the New York State  COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare workers, Rochester Regional Health is currently nearing 99 percent compliance. This percentage includes individuals who have received at least one dose of the vaccine, or have been granted religious or medical exemptions. Rochester Regional Health is proud of all of its employees for their hard work and dedication in keeping the community safe through the pandemic and beyond. We remain committed to serving the community and taking care of all individuals who seek care. “

September 27, 2021 - 4:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, steve hawley, 139th assembly district.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) expressed outrage today as the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers takes effect, forcing countless healthcare employees throughout the state to resign from their positions. Many of these healthcare workers have for months now been on the front lines of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and have been left without recourse in the face of a mandate that does not permit regular testing of unvaccinated healthcare workers

“Taking jobs from healthcare workers who have been working harder than anybody to combat the COVID-19 pandemic is a slap in their face, and I am incensed by the governor’s willingness to cast aside a group of highly skilled people who have saved the lives of so many New Yorkers,” said Hawley. “The valuable experience these professionals have in fighting COVID-19 will be squandered, and the ones who will pay the price for this decision are those who need the highest quality of care possible to save their lives. I am vaccinated and would encourage anyone who wishes to be vaccinated to do so, but I also believe in personal choice, and with no option for unvaccinated healthcare workers to elect for frequent testing, this mandate will only harm our ability to help patients who need care most.”

 

September 24, 2021 - 10:47am

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today expressed his relief as news broke that Health Commissioner Howard Zucker has resigned from his position, though his resignation will only take effect when Gov. Hochul puts forward his replacement. 

Hawley has been a frequent critic of Zucker and demanded his resignation on many occasions, deeply questioning the role Zucker may have played in the potential cover-up of the true number of fatalities that occurred in nursing homes during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also spoke out against the mandates placed on small businesses and public institutions that restricted their operations.

“While I am of the opinion that firing Howard Zucker should have been one of the first things Gov. Hochul did after being sworn in, it is better to see him leave late than never,” said Hawley. “Zucker has mismanaged this pandemic since day one, and his highly questionable actions likely contributed to the personal and economic pain of countless people throughout our state. In managing our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to be smart about recognizing the realities people in the different, distinct regions of our state face in their personal lives and careers. A continuation of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to the pandemic, characterized by burdensome, widely-applied mandates, will only stifle our state’s recovery from the pandemic. It’s my hope Zucker’s successor takes a more balanced and reasonable approach with local control, so that it won’t have the same negative impact on our communities and small businesses as Zucker’s mandates.”

September 19, 2021 - 10:57am

There have been many complaints and much concern expressed about Batavia City Schools’ current busing situation, Board President Alice Benedict says. Parents have been quite vocal about the need to put three students per seat on Jackson and John Kennedy school buses, however, it has all been online.

Board meetings have been void of any such vocal discourse, she said.

“No parents have ever attended. But there have been lots of comments on social media,” Benedict said during an interview Saturday. “We’re criticized for the choices made, but nobody has taken the time to come and talk to us. Unfortunately, it’s something we don’t have any control over.”

A lack of drivers at the district’s bus operator, Student Transportation of America, has in turn meant fewer buses per run. To accommodate all of the students needing transportation, they have been assigned three per seat, she said.

“There’s not anything the school district can do about it, other than ask parents to take their kids off the bus and drive them to school themselves,” she said. “We’re still talking to the bus company … for me personally as a board member, (Business Administrator) Mr. Rozanski is doing the best he can. They just don’t have the bodies to drive.”

Batavia is far from alone in this dilemma. ABCnews.go.com states that schools across the country, from Pennsylvania and Virginia to Missouri, Ohio, and Texas, have reported similar shortages. Georgia’s Savannah-Chatham County Public School System reported a 30 percent decrease of more than 110 drivers upon the start of this school season, the website states. Covid is to blame for the lack of drivers, Paul Abbott, executive director for transportation for the district, said to ABC News, it states.

The city school district is short some four buses, which has caused delays, late arrivals and the three-per-seat set-up. STA operates more than 16,000 vehicles for over 300 school districts, according to its website, and is “committed to providing our customers with the highest level of safe and reliable transportation solutions available.” The company’s public relations department did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Students are required to wear masks on the bus, and they can take brief mask “breaks” if the weather is nice and the windows are open, Benedict said. Many of them have been told by their parents to wear the mask for the duration of the bus trip and not take them off at all, she said.

As for other virus-related measures, Covid testing equipment has been issued to the district by the Genesee County Health Department, Interim Superintendent Scott Bischoping said during the board’s Thursday meeting. Students with potential symptoms of the Covid-19 virus can be tested during the day.

The Health Department will notify school officials if anyone does test positive, and contact tracing will begin to track down who the infected person was in contact with prior to being tested, he said, “and making the determination if a quarantine is necessary.” The total quarantine would be for 10 days, minus any days already lapsed before diagnosing the Covid case, he said.

Having access to on-site testing and wearing masks are two methods to maintaining a healthy environment, he said.

“Our families want our kids in school as much as possible,” he said.

The next board meeting is set for 6 p.m. Oct. 21 in Batavia High School library, 260 State St.

A related Q&A was posted Thursday on the district’s website to clarify its protocols for Covid-19 guidelines. That is shown below:

SEP 16, 2021

Dear BCSD Parents and Guardians, 

Over the last few days, we’ve received a few questions from parents about protocols regarding our COVID-19 guidelines that we want to clarify for the larger community.

We appreciate the questions and will continue to update you as they arise.  

Q: Are there outbreaks of the virus in our buildings? 

A: While cases of the virus have been reported to us by the Genesee County Health Department, only a small number of those cases resulted from a spread within our buildings. Most reported cases are due to a spread of the virus outside of school, and families have taken the necessary steps to quarantine. While this situation could change, we will report any significant issues directly to families.

In an effort to provide transparent information on COVID-19 cases reported throughout the Batavia City School District, going forward, each Monday, we will be posting the number of positive student and staff cases reported from the previous week on our website: BataviaCSD.org.

Q: How will families be made aware of cases within the schools?

A: We are working in collaboration with the Genesee County Health Department who is providing guidance when there is a positive case in any of our district buildings. 

Once a positive case is identified, the Health Department determines who that child or staff member has been in contact with. From there, Health Department officials determine what action is warranted (i.e., testing, quarantine, etc.).

You will be contacted directly by the Health Department if your child was in contact with another person who has tested positive, and they will work with you to determine the next steps.

Q: Are there three students per seat on our buses?

A: Yes, there are three students per seat on our Jackson and John Kennedy bus runs in many cases. While we would have preferred to have enough buses to have separate bus runs for each building with fewer students on each bus, our transportation contractor has been unable to provide the necessary buses due to the nationwide bus driver shortage.

Q: What are you doing to try to get more buses?

A: We will continue to work with our busing contractor STA to find more opportunities to increase the number of buses servicing our district, including using subcontractors. But as of today, we don’t have a solution in place. 

Q: Is it true that students are allowed to take mask breaks on buses?

A: We have advised our bus drivers to allow students to take brief mask breaks – especially on hot days. These breaks are permitted (but not required) to avoid students getting overheated. Weather permitting, we are also opening our bus windows. 

As a parent, you can certainly advise your child not to remove their mask during these breaks.

As a reminder, if a student or staff member exhibits any COVID symptoms, they should not report to school that day and should contact the building nurse immediately. 

Please reach out to your child’s principal if you have any additional questions or concerns. 

Sincerely, 

Scott Bischoping

Interim Superintendent  

September 15, 2021 - 1:04pm
posted by Press Release in Genesee County Jail, news, covid-19, coronavirus.

Press Release:

Genesee County Sheriff William A. Sheron, Jr. announces that inmate visitation resumes at the Genesee County Jail effective today. 

September 11, 2021 - 10:02am
posted by Press Release in covid-19, coronavirus, news, ny-17, Chris Jacobs.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) released the following statement regarding President Biden’s announcement of vaccine mandates. 

“We have come a long way from the beginning of Operation Warp Speed to now over 75% of U.S. adults have received at least one dose. I believe the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and I encourage my constituents to consult their doctor about getting vaccinated – this a personal medical decision that should be made between a citizen and their physician. I am opposed to the President’s mandates and believe he has overstepped his authority in announcing them. In addition, I disagree with the President pitting vaccinated Americans against their unvaccinated peers. This serves no public health interest and only further divides an already fractured nation. 

September 10, 2021 - 8:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, news, 139th assembly district, covid-19, coronavirus.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) is joining his colleagues in the Assembly Minority calling on Governor Hochul and Health Commissioner Zucker to reverse the decision to mandate vaccination of healthcare workers. They argue that any public health benefit a mandate would provide would be outweighed by the detriment such a requirement would have on staffing levels within hospitals and health centers, as 20-25% of health workers within New York are unvaccinated. Hawley asserts that rather than implementing this mandate and potentially losing nearly a quarter of the state’s healthcare staff, an option for frequent and regular testing for unvaccinated people should be offered and access to effective PPE such as N95 masks should be increased.

Hawley is also concerned about how the mandate will affect people who either cannot be vaccinated due to their medical circumstances, and those who work remotely like coders and transcriptionists who do not come into contact with patients.

“Losing even a fraction of our medical personnel in this time of need would have a catastrophic effect on our efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, and to think we could lose a quarter or a fifth of our already-overburdened healthcare workers is incredibly troubling,” said Hawley. “We need to be pragmatic about how we fight this virus, and while I encourage anyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine and believe it’s safe and effective, forcing nurses, doctors, and other health staff who have worked tirelessly throughout these last many months to choose between taking a vaccine or losing their jobs is not going to convince any skeptics that efforts to increase vaccine rates are well-intended.”

September 5, 2021 - 9:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in social media, Health Care, covid-19, coronavirus, news.

More than 40 health care organizations along with 40 physicians from throughout Western New York have issued a statement calling on area residents to ignore social media misinformation about COVID-19 treatment and prevention and asking them to follow the recommendations of doctors and scientists. 

Among the organizations: Erie County Medical Center, Veterans Affairs, Kaleida Health, Horizon Health, Lake Plains Community Care, and Independent Health.  

Among the physicians signing the letter is Dr. Michael Merrill, former chief medical officer at UMMC and currently an executive with Independent Health. 

To view the document with the statement and a list of all the supporters of the statement, click here (pdf).

Statement:

These organizations and the individuals signing below say the following message is correct and reliable. Social media posts may be incorrect. Find reliable, science- based information sources, such as the CDC.

We are experiencing a high number of COVID-19 cases in the region. You should wear a mask in indoor public places, even if you are fully vaccinated. Please wear a mask in outdoor settings if it is crowded or you expect close contact with others.

Wearing a mask will protect you. It will protect people around you. And the more people who do it, the more we protect the community. This is similar to littering. If one person litters, no one notices the impact. If many people litter, it creates a problem for everyone.

The risks of the vaccine are far lower than the risks of COVID-19. Please get a vaccine. Even if you are healthy, it is best not to get the COVID-19 infection, because you can spread it to vulnerable people without knowing.

92% of recent COVID-19 deaths in Erie County are in people who are not fully vaccinated.
There is evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines are SAFE during pregnancy. Infection with the COVID-19 virus during pregnancy can cause poor outcomes for moms and newborns. One study showed if a mother gives birth while infected with COVID-19, they have a 5 times elevated risk of dying.

There is NO evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility. However, the COVID-19 infection CAN affect future fertility. You are not protected by your racial, ethnic or age group. COVID-19 is not like influenza. It is 10 times more fatal.

Why get a COVID-19 vaccine if we still have to wear masks and practice social distancing? We must use every tool available to control the pandemic. Each tool contributes toward “flattening the curve” and reducing, for example, the number of critically ill patients.

Why should I get the vaccine when people who are vaccinated can still get COVID-19? The COVID-19 vaccines were designed to prevent serious infection, hospitalization, and death. All of the current US vaccines provide very strong protection against all of these outcomes, with protection against hospitalization and death greater than 90%. Most vaccinated people who do get COVID have either no symptoms or very mild symptoms and are much less likely to be hospitalized or die.

How do we know the vaccines are safe in the long term? In the history of vaccine research, most vaccine side effects appear within a few weeks and almost all appear within six months. We now have data for well beyond six months for people who have received the COVID-19 vaccines, and it continues to show they are extremely safe. More than 360 million doses have been given in the US. At no point were shortcuts taken or safety compromised.

September 4, 2021 - 9:10am

Press release: 

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) is saddened to announce that his annual Patriot Trip in which he brings veterans to landmarks and historical sites throughout the Washington, D.C. area will be canceled this year due to concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19, especially as new variant cases in both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals continue to increase. All participants who have signed up for the trip will be fully refunded for anything paid toward it.

“Having to cancel a trip that means so much to veterans, their families, and I was an incredibly difficult decision, but ultimately the well-being of veterans and their families has to be our top priority,” said Hawley. “Amidst the spread of COVID-19, it is also very difficult to know for certain that planned destinations will be reasonably accessible. Ultimately, however, the thought of even a single veteran or one of their loved ones falling seriously ill is what caused me to have to make this difficult decision because their well-being is more important than any event.”

September 2, 2021 - 8:53am

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) is standing firmly opposed to legislation being taken up today in a special session of the New York State Assembly that would extend the moratorium on evictions in the state into 2022. Hawley has expressed frustration that this moratorium has been extended multiple times, even as the state government sits on the vast majority of $2.6 billion in federal funding meant to address the issue, having distributed only 10 percent of those funds to tenants and landlords in need.

“If we do not do something to help our small landlords in this crucial moment, they may well go extinct within the housing market if forced to sell their property to large conglomerates to escape crushing debts which they cannot collect rent to pay,” said Hawley. 

“More often than not small landlords are retired people with families to feed, tax and mortgage bills to pay, and properties that take time, money, and hard work to maintain. To think we would ask them to continue to absorb the brunt of this housing crisis after holding on for roughly a year and a half now is absurd, especially when incompetency in our executive branch has kept money out of the pockets of the tenants and landlords that truly need it. Had we acted with any reasonable speed or efficacy in distributing the federal assistance that’s been sat on since January, we would not need to be debating this matter now.”

August 24, 2021 - 9:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Jail, news, covid-19, coronavirus.

Press release:

Due to Covid cases within the Genesee County Jail, Sheriff William A. Sheron, Jr. is suspending all inmate visitations effective immediately until further notice. This is a precautionary measure to prevent the risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to inmates’ families and employees.  

August 24, 2021 - 9:14am
posted by Press Release in UMMC, Rochester Regional Health, news, covid-19, coronavirus.

Press release:

Due to the rapid transmission of the Delta variant and increased positive COVID-19 cases, Rochester Regional Health will be re-implementing a stricter visitation policy effectiveWednesday, August 25 at 9 a.m. at the following locations:

  • Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic
  • Newark-Wayne Community Hospital
  • Rochester General Hospital
  • Unity Hospital
  • United Memorial Medical Center
  • Rochester Ambulatory Surgery Center
  • Linden Oaks Ambulatory Surgery Center
  • Westfall Ambulatory Surgery Center

New York State Department of Health continues to require masks inside healthcare facilities this includes visitors and patients. Visitors must have their temperature checked and be screened for symptoms when entering any of these facilities.

No visitation allowed 

  • COVID-19 positive patients 
  • Emergency department patients
  • Cancer infusion center patients
  • Only exceptions: pediatric patients, labor and delivery patients, patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, and cognitive impairments including dementia and patients at the end-of-life (see below)

Hospital visitation policy

  • Each COVID negative patient can have one visitor at a time at the bedside 
  • Different visitors can visit the patient throughout the day as long as it is limited to one at a time
  • Visitors must be 12 years of age or older
  • Labor and Delivery (Obstetrics)
    • One visitor at a time
    • One support person (in addition to a visitor) is allowed at the beside at all times
  • Pediatrics
    • Two supports persons and one visitor
    • One visitor in pediatric ED
    • If the patient is COVID positive, one support person and one visitor
  • Patients undergoing ambulatory procedures or surgeries
    • One visitor only for pre-procedure (surgery) and post-procedure (surgery)
  • Patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, and cognitive impairments including dementia
    • One support person may be present on-site at a time in the emergency room or during hospitalization
    • An additional visitor may also be with the patient during hospital-designated visiting hours 
  •  Behavioral Health inpatients
    • There is no change to the current visitation rules for Behavioral Health Inpatients
      • Two visitors during site-specific hours
  • End of life patients (appropriate PPE will be required if the patient is COVID positive):

o   Up to two visitors at the bedside at a time 

o   One support person (in addition to visitors) is allowed at the bedside; clergy are not considered a visitor

o   Social distancing must be maintained

Hospital daily visitation hours 

  • Rochester General Hospital: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Unity Hospital: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic:  12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Newark-Wayne Community Hospital: 12 p.m.  – 8 p.m.
  • United Memorial Medical Center: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. 
  • Behavioral Health Facilities – call specific site for hours
August 20, 2021 - 10:18pm
posted by Press Release in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

Press release:

“Both Genesee and Orleans Counties are now in a high level of community transmission according to the CDC COVID Data Tracker (https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view),” stated Paul Pettit, Director of the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health).  “Genesee and Orleans Counties are currently at 99 active cases.  We are also reporting eleven hospitalizations between the two counties, with eight in Genesee and three in Orleans. All of these hospitalizations are community members across the age spectrum and not nursing home residents. The majority are unvaccinated.”

We encourage everyone to follow the public health prevention precautions as noted below.  It is important for those who are not currently vaccinated to talk with their primary care provider to determine whether getting vaccinated is right for them.  “The best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 or health complications from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated.  The vaccine is proven to be safe and effective,” stated Pettit. 

Per the CDC recommendations for communities with the high spread of COVID-19, we encourage everyone, vaccinated and unvaccinated, to wear masks when indoors in public and when at crowded outdoor settings.

  • Everyone should continue practicing the following public health prevention precautions: 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. 
  • If water is not readily available, use hand sanitizer. 
  • Wash and sanitize frequently shared/touched items.
  • Stay 6 feet away from others and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Wear a face mask indoors in public and crowded outdoor settings. 
  • Monitor your health daily and stay home if you are experiencing any symptoms.
  • Get tested if you are experiencing symptoms and self-isolate until you get your results back. If you test positive for COVID, you are to isolate for 10 days. 

For up to date data, GO Health updates the Emerging Issues page of the website (https://gohealthny.org/emerging-issues/) on Mondays and Thursdays and posts the data on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages (GOHealthNY is the user name for each of these platforms). 

The Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming County Health Departments COVID-19 Case and Vaccination Tracker is updated daily (https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/5f8401b0516247b490934303e3975e49/)

August 20, 2021 - 10:09pm
posted by Press Release in covid-19, coronavirus, news, Chris Jacobs, NY-27.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) released the following statement after the Biden administration announced yet another extension of the U.S. – Canadian border restrictions until at least September 21st, 2021.

“Extending the closure of the U.S. – Canada border again without answers demonstrates the sheer inability of this administration to adequately plan or provide transparent answers to the American people. Our shared border should have been open months ago. This administration’s failure to do so has forced our small businesses to suffer economically from another missed tourism season, and more heartbreaking, they have prolonged the suffering of thousands of families. 

“Enough is enough. The President needs to stop passing the buck and reopen the U.S. – Canada border immediately.

The Department of Homeland Security extended the current restrictions on land travel from Canada to the United States until September 21st, 2021. The border has been closed to nonessential travel since March 2020. On August 9th, 2021 Canada began allowing fully vaccinated Americans into the country. 

Jacobs introduced the Northern Border Reopening Transparency Act in June to force the Biden administration to provide answers to Congress and the American people on its efforts to reopen the U.S. – Canada border.
 

August 16, 2021 - 6:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

Press release:

Both Genesee and Orleans Counties have increased to a substantial and high levels of community transmission, respectively, according to the CDC COVID Data Tracker (https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view),” stated Paul Pettit, Director of the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health).  “As noted last week, we are not surprised in this increase in transmission data.  We are saddened to report the COVID-related death of a Genesee County resident who was under the age of 65.  To protect the privacy of the family we will not release any further information about the individual.  Our deepest sympathy goes out to the family and friends of this person.”

We continue to encourage everyone to follow the public health prevention precautions as noted below.  It is important for those who are not currently vaccinated to talk with their primary care provider to determine whether getting vaccinated is right for them.  

There are currently no masking mandates that have been issued by either county, however, per the CDC recommendations for communities with substantial or high spread of COVID-19 we encourage everyone, vaccinated and unvaccinated, to wear masks when indoors in public and when at crowded outdoor settings.

Everyone should continue practicing the following public health prevention precautions: 

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. 
  • If water is not readily available, use hand sanitizer. 
  • Wash and sanitize frequently shared/touched items.
  • Stay 6 feet away from others and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Wear a face mask indoors in public and crowded outdoor settings. 
  • Monitor your health daily and stay home if you are experiencing any symptoms.

Get tested if you are experiencing symptoms and self-isolate until you get your results back. If you test positive for COVID, you are to isolate for 10 days. 

“The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 or health complications from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated,” stated Pettit. “Now is the best time to take advantage of getting vaccinated for COVID-19 before the new school term starts and the weather changes and we start moving back indoors”.   

For up to date data, GO Health updates the Emerging Issues page of the website (https://gohealthny.org/emerging-issues/) on Mondays and Thursdays and posts the data on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages (GOHealthNY is the user name for each of these platforms) and the Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming County Health Departments COVID-19 Case and Vaccination Tracker are updated daily (https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/5f8401b0516247b490934303e3975e49/).

For those who are using home testing kits, please note that the Health Departments are unable to verify the results and will not be able to provide paperwork for your employer/insurance company.  Home tests that need verification will have to complete a follow-up test with an approved provider for documentation and state reporting purposes.  If you do either a home test or a test at approved provider, it is important to remember to self-isolate until you receive test results.  For home testing, you are to self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days from onset of symptoms or getting your test result.  Contact your primary care physician for further instructions.

 

August 11, 2021 - 3:18pm
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news, covid-19, coronavirus.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (R-NY) and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) led a bicameral letter with 29 members of Congress to President Biden calling for the administration to change course and end its unconstitutional eviction moratorium. 
“We strongly oppose the Biden administration’s latest eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This latest action is plainly unconstitutional and will only serve to further distort the market and create a housing affordability crisis,” the lawmakers said. “Additionally, any further restrictions on evictions at this point are counterproductive. The economy is open, jobs and vaccines are abundant, and federal rental assistance is a reality.”

In a recent Supreme Court case, Alabama Association of Realtors v. Department of Health and Human Services, five members of the Supreme Court effectively acknowledged that CDC exceeded its authority in issuing the moratorium. Justice Kavanaugh stated that “clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31.” 

“Instead of pursuing an unconstitutional moratorium, the Biden administration should be focused on distributing the nearly $50 billion in rental assistance that was appropriated through three separate stimulus packages.” the lawmakers said. “As long this moratorium remains in place, property owners will continue to struggle financially. These property owners must still pay mortgages, taxes, and maintenance for the dwelling. If this continues much longer, we will see a wave of bankruptcies, foreclosures, and blighted properties.”

Most states require the tenant to take the initiative when applying for rental assistance. A recent Treasury report found very little of the federal rental assistance money has been disbursed so far, and the new moratorium will act as an additional disincentive for tenants to apply for this aid, leaving property owners on the hook. 

“We demand the Biden administration end this moratorium and allow the rental assistance funds to do what they were intended to do. This government overreach must end,” the lawmakers said.

Full text of the letter can be found here

August 9, 2021 - 5:03pm
posted by Press Release in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

Press release:

“According to the CDC COVID Data Tracker (https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view) Orleans County has increased to substantial level of community transmission,” stated Paul Pettit, Director of the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health).  “Genesee County is currently maintaining a moderate level of transmission for COVID-19.  This is not surprising as Niagara, Erie, and Monroe Counties are all considered to be at the substantial level of transmission.”

“We continue to monitor the data and update the Genesee – Orleans – Wyoming COVID Case Tracker map daily (https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/5f8401b0516247b490934303e3975e49/),” stated Pettit. 

Although we are not sending daily data updates to the media, the GO Health website is updated on Monday’s and Thursday’s with COVID-19 data and the public can access this information by visiting our website at www.GOHealthNY.org and clicking on Emerging Issues. 

Both Genesee and Orleans are experiencing an uptick of new cases of COVID-19, including some cases where the individuals are fully vaccinated.  This is not unexpected as we are seeing this across the state and nation.  This is what viruses do. Even for those who are fully vaccinated there is a chance the individual may become infected with COVID-19, especially due to the high transmission rate of the Delta Variant.  Although being fully vaccinated may not completely protect someone from getting COVID-19, the vast majority of those who have been fully vaccinated and have become infected had little or no symptoms or serious complications.

It is important for everyone who is not vaccinated and eligible, to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The vaccination is free and clinics are held weekly at each of the health departments (visit: https://bit.ly/GOHealthCOVID for updated clinics and locations). Pharmacies and health care providers also provide the COVID-19 vaccine and you can visit (www.vaccines.gov) for a location near you. If anyone has concerns about whether or not the vaccine is right for them, we encourage them to talk to their primary care provider.  

Per the CDC recommendations for communities with substantial or high spread of COVID-19 we encourage everyone to continue, vaccinated and unvaccinated, to continue practicing the following public health prevention precautions: 

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. 
  • If water is not readily available, use hand sanitizer. 
  • Wash and sanitize frequently shared/touched items.
  • Stay 6 feet away from others and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Wear a face mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission. 
  • Monitor your health daily and stay home if you are experiencing any symptoms.
  • Get tested if you are experiencing symptoms and self-isolate until you get your results back. If you test positive for COVID, you are to isolate for 10 days. 

“The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 or health complications from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated,” stated Pettit. “Now is the best time to take advantage of getting vaccinated for COVID-19 before the new school term starts and the weather changes and we start moving back indoors”.   

August 2, 2021 - 12:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news.

Press release:

GO Health Departments will be on the road with Back-to-School Pop-up Clinics the week of August 9th across Genesee and Orleans Counties.  The Pfizer vaccine will be offered at the clinics, which is approved for everyone 12 years of age and older.  COVID-19 vaccines are both safe and effective.   

“The Back-to-School Pop-up Vaccine Clinics are a great way for our youth and young adults 12 years of age and older to conveniently get the vaccine before school starts,” stated Paul Pettit, Public Health Director for GO Health. 

Each clinic is open to the public and walk-ins will be accepted. Appointments are strongly encouraged and can be made via the links listed below.  Anyone under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian with them to receive the vaccine.  The second dose of the vaccine will be offered three weeks after the first shot at the same school during the same time.

“It is important for all that are currently eligible to get their vaccine now to ensure we have the best protection and are successful in having in-person learning this school year,” stated Pettit.  “Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the most effective way to protect yourself and others.  Vaccinated individuals continue to represent a very small amount of the total cases and current transmission rates so we need to continue to get as many people vaccinated as possible.” 

Click here for a PDF of the press release with the clinic schedule

July 16, 2021 - 1:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, livestream, video.
Video Sponsor

COVID-19 Update for Genesee County with Public Health Director Paul Pettit.

We will be discussing:

  • The current numbers and trends for local infections;
  • The delta variant;
  • Prospects for a return of mask requirements and other restrictions to slow the spread;
  • The local status of vaccinations;
  • The Surgeon General's statement on vaccine misinformation.
June 23, 2021 - 4:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in St. Anthony's, City Church, batavia, covid-19, coronavirus.

img_4568food.jpg

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, City Church, at its St. Anthony facility, has continued to offer free food to anybody who drives through on the distribution today. There was another distribution this morning with a line of cars stretched down Liberty Street and dozens of volunteers helping with the distribution.

img_4566food.jpg

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img_4552food.jpg

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