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January 22, 2022 - 9:15pm
posted by Press Release in genesee county, batavia, LeRoy, COVID, health.

Press Release:

Genesee County has received 2,580 free COVID-19 test kits from New York State to distribute to Genesee County residents. Starting the week of January 24, 2022, test kits will be available at town, village, and city municipal buildings during their regular business hours, while supplies last. Residents should contact their local municipality for details of when the municipal building is open and the availability of test kits. A maximum of 2 kits (4 tests) per family will be distributed and attendees will be required to show proof of Genesee County residency in order to receive kits. The following locations will have a limited supply of COVID-19 test kits:

  • Town of Alabama
  • Town of Alexander
  • Town of Batavia
  • Town of Bergen
  • Town of Bethany
  • Town of Byron
  • Town of Darien
  • Town of Elba
  • Town of LeRoy
  • Town of Oakfield
  • Town of Pavilion
  • Town of Pembroke
  • Town of Stafford
  • Village of Alexander
  • Village of Bergen
  • Village of Corfu
  • Village of Elba
  • Village of LeRoy
  • Village of Oakfield
  • Batavia City Hall, Clerks Office

“Residents should use at-home COVID-19 tests after a possible exposure to someone with COVID-19 or when they exhibit symptoms of COVID-19,” stated Paul Pettit, Public Health Director for Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health). “Testing is one mitigation strategy that can help reduce the community spread of COVID-19.” For Free PCR and rapid testing, you can go to the NYS COVID-19 Testing site located at GCC Albion Campus Center at 456 West Avenue, Albion. Walk-ins and registration allowed Monday- Saturday. To register: https://appointments.bioreference.com/nystatecovidtesting.

To report a Positive At-home Test:
Individuals can visit the GO Health website COVID-19 Testing page under Emerging Issues (GOHealthNY.org) and choose the appropriate Home Test button for their respective county. Individuals should complete the at-home tests according to the directions provided. When the test is completed, individuals should take a picture with the individual’s name, the date and the time they took the test legibly written in permanent marker within 15 minutes of reading the test. Towards the end of the online form, the individual will be required to upload the picture on the website and attest to the authenticity and truth of the form. If there are any missing sections that
are required, the form is invalid. At this time, individuals do not need to report negative at-home test results. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is to self-isolate immediately. You may not be contacted regarding your contacts, so it is important to notify your close contacts (those who you spent 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period 2 days prior to symptoms or 2 days prior to a positive test result). It is important to continue with self-isolation from household members as much as you are able. Isolate for 5 days and if you are fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication, your symptoms are getting better, and you can tolerate a tight-fitting mask you can return to work/school but you are still required to wear a tight-fitting mask for 5 more days. If you must share space, make sure all in contact with you are wearing masks covering their nose and mouth and frequently shared items/surfaces are sanitized often. To access isolation orders and isolation release paperwork visit our website at GOHealthNY.org (COVID-19 Isolation & Quarantine Documents & Information) and complete and print out or print and hand write the forms from the county you reside in and provide to your employer or school.

Residents can sign up for an upcoming COVID-19 vaccination clinic to receive their first dose, booster shot, or pediatric dose at the GO Health website at https://bit.ly/GOHealthCOVID.

January 21, 2022 - 7:11pm
posted by Press Release in COVID, batavia.

Press Release:

The Town of Batavia will be distributing free COVID test kits on Monday, January 24, 2022. The distribution will be from 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at the Batavia Town Hall DRIVE-UP WINDOW. There are 110 available test kits, with two tests per kit. Those attending must be a Genesee County resident and may take up to two kits per household, while supplies last. Must provide proof of residency.

January 11, 2022 - 11:12pm

Without any discussion, Batavia’s Board of Education unanimously approved a slew of consent items Tuesday evening, including spending more than $400,000 to purchase disinfection devices as one way to combat COVID-19.

The bid of $416,250 from Enviro-mist was a recommendation from the city school’s Building and Grounds Committee, Board President Alice Benedict said. 

“They are the ones who did the investigating, and asked the questions,” she said to The Batavian after the meeting at Batavia High School. “We decided it was something the school district needed.”

After district members conducted research about how to deal with increasing cases of COVID-19, Building and Grounds committee members were given the green light to pursue some type of disinfection equipment, she said. 

The funding for these devices will come from the federal American Relief Act, which was doled out to school districts for various virus-related solutions. The board agreed that Enviro-mist came in with the best bid for air purification and disinfection devices, at $1,665 each for 250 disinfection units, or $416,250. The units purify the air at one unit per 900 square feet, Benedict said. 

The company website touts specialized consultation services that include: 

  • Effective and Safe Re-Opening and Return to Work Plans.
  • Preventive and/or Corrective Disinfecting.
  • Portable or In-Duct Air Purification Systems with knowledge of how best to work with air flow.
  • Micro-Barriers for extended protection of high-touch surfaces.
  • Air Quality Scans, Testing and Monitoring.
  • Industry’s best Air Purifying Equipment Rental for events or gatherings.
  • Post Covid Protocols that prepare for the next superbug, flu, allergy or outbreak.

Other consent items included seven resignations of music, special education and English as a Second Language teachers, teacher aides and a financial records clerk; many appointments of assorted positions, from probationary social worker to clerk typists; and Memorandums of Agreements with Batavia Teachers’ Association, TRIO Upward Bound College Prep Program, Attica Central School District for 6:1:1 services, and with the business administrator, executive director of staff development and operations, and executive director of curriculum and instruction. ( The Batavian will update details as they become available.)

It's that time of year when school boards begin to think about expenses and revenues. In lieu of the past Budget Ambassador program fulfilled by volunteer district residents, board members have signed on to meet for at least three public budget sessions, Benedict said. A lack of interested volunteers rendered the former ambassador group defunct, she said. Board members will conduct Zoom budget meetings so that anyone may attend and ask questions. 

The budget meetings are set for 6 p.m. on March 1, 8 and 15 in the Superintendent’s Conference Room 49 of the district office, 260 State St. The next regular board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Feb. 17 in the BHS library 260 State St.

January 7, 2022 - 6:45pm
posted by Press Release in COVID, Genesee and Orleans counties, health.

Press Release;

“Due to the high volume of COVID-19 case reports in recent days exceeding the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health) and NYS contact tracing capacity to individually contact every Genesee and Orleans County resident with a positive COVID-19 test result GO Health and New York State are making some adjustments,” stated Paul Pettit, Public Health Director for the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments.

New York State Department of Health has also announced that beginning next week changes will be implemented to case investigation and contact tracing. Please be advised this guidance may change. “The surge in positive COVID-19 cases brought on by the Omicron variant, the availability of home testing and the need to prioritize our resources has led us to make significant changes in our COVID-19 response, including suspending contact tracing for the general population ages 19-64. For those in schools or congregate settings, who are under the age of 18 and over the age of 64, due to the higher risk of spread and severity, contact tracing will continue as capacity allows” stated Pettit. 

Effective Monday, January 10th, residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 OR have had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 will be able to visit www.GOHealthNY.org and choose the red COVID-19 Isolation & Quarantine Information button to be directed to the isolation and quarantine documents. For those who have tested positive for COVID-19, you will be contacted by NYS by e-mail or text. Once you are notified of your positive results by the lab or NYS, immediately self-isolate and notify your close contacts of their potential exposure. For those in the 19-64 age group, who test positive you should no longer expect to receive a call from the local health department, nor do you need to call the local health department. Please follow the general directions that NYS provides for isolation and quarantine and contact your healthcare provider for medical advice.

New Protocol for Genesee and Orleans CountiesIf you are in need of isolation, quarantine or release documents, they are available on the GO Health website. Complete the form(s) and print it out for your employer or school.

Isolation (for those who test positive for COVID-19)

If you test positive for COVID-19:

  • Isolate for 5 days, where day 0 is the day of symptom onset or (if asymptomatic) the day of collection of the first positive specimen.
  • If asymptomatic at the end of 5 days or if symptoms are resolving, isolation ends and the individual should wear a well-fitting mask while around others for an additional 5 days.
  • Individuals who are moderately-severely immunocompromised should continue to follow standard (i.e., not shortened) Isolation Guidance.
  • Individuals who are unable to wear a well-fitting mask for 5 days after a 5-day isolation should also follow standard isolation guidance (i.e., 10 days, not shortened)
  • Quarantine (for those who have had close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19)
  • Quarantine as follows, where day 0 is the last date of exposure:
    • If not fully vaccinated or fully vaccinated and eligible for a booster but not yet boosted, quarantine for 5 days and wear a well-fitting mask while around others for an additional 5 days.
    • If fully vaccinated and boosted (with the booster at least 2 weeks before the first date of exposure) or not yet eligible for a booster, no quarantine is required but these individuals should wear a well-fitting mask while around others for 10 days after the last date of exposure.
    • If possible, test at day 5 with either a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT, e.g., PCR) or antigen test.
    • If symptoms appear, quarantine and seek testing. In this situation, quarantine would end when the test is negative. If testing is not done, isolate according to the guidance above.

Quarantine orders and release are also included on the GOHealthNY.org website for you to complete and provide to your employer/school.

Given the changes announced for case investigation and contact tracing our data collection/reporting will be adjusted. Starting next week, GO Health will be releasing limited data on Wednesdays. For COVID-19 data please visit the NYS site: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-data-new-york.

January 7, 2022 - 5:43pm
posted by Press Release in COVID, genesee county, health.

Press Release:

Due to the anticipated high demand for free COVID-19 tests, Genesee County will distribute one test kit per car. Each kit contains two tests. The distribution event is scheduled for Saturday, January 8th from 12-2 pm at the Genesee County Fire Training Center, located at 7690 State Street Rd in Batavia.

County officials stress that there will be more opportunities in the future for the distribution of tests.

There are 2,580 available test kits, with two tests per kit. Attendees will be required to show proof of Genesee County residence in order to receive a kit(s). Should a resident test positive with an at-home rapid test, they are asked to report it here.

Residents can also sign up for an upcoming COVID-19 vaccination clinic to receive their first dose, booster shot, or a pediatric dose for children age 5-11 here.


January 5, 2022 - 2:53pm
posted by Press Release in genesee county, COVID, health.

Press Release:

Genesee County, in collaboration with New York State, is holding a COVID-19 rapid testing kit distribution event this Saturday, January 8th at the Genesee County Fire Training Center, located at 7690 State Street Rd in Batavia, from 12-2pm.

There are 2,580 available test kits, with two tests per kit. Those attending may take up to two kits per household, while supplies last.  Attendees will be required to show proof of Genesee County residence in order to receive a kit(s).This will be the first of several upcoming COVID-19 test kit distribution events, which will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Providing our residents with free COVID-19 test kits, thereby expanding testing county-wide, is an essential component in the fight against COVID-19 and stopping the spread,” said Genesee County Legislature Chair Shelley Stein. “We look forward to holding more of these events in the near future, but we remind residents that our best resource for fighting COVID-19 is to get vaccinated as they are proven to be safe and effective.”

Should a resident test positive with an at-home rapid test, they are asked to report it here.

As local schools are distributing test kits for students, Genesee County officials encourage families with students to utilize school resources to ensure people & families without students have access to county and state resources.

Residents can also sign up for an upcoming COVID-19 vaccination clinic to receive their first dose, booster shot, or a pediatric dose for children age 5-11 here.

January 3, 2022 - 4:04pm
posted by Press Release in Orleans County, COVID, health.

Press Release:

New York State has provided Orleans County Emergency Management Office with free at-home COVID-19 test kits to distribute to residents. Starting Thursday, January 6, 2022, each town hall and the Orleans County Office Building will have a limited supply of COVID-19 test kits to distribute to their residents during normal business hours until the kits are gone. Please note all the school districts have received kits for their students and will distribute according to their respective plans. A maximum of 2 kits per family will be distributed at the following locations: Orleans County Office Building: Monday-Friday 9:00-4:30

Town of Yates: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9:00-4:30

Village of Lyndonville: Monday-Friday 7:30-4:00 Closed Daily 12:30-1:00

Town of Ridgeway: Monday–Friday 9:00-4:30

Village of Medina: Monday-Friday 8:30-4:30

Town of Shelby: Monday–Friday 8:30-4:00

Town of Carlton: Tuesday–Friday 8:30-2:30 / Saturday 9:00-12:00 p.m.

Town of Gaines: Monday-Thursday 10:00-3:30 / Monday Evenings 5:00-7:00

Village of Albion: Monday-Friday 8:00-4:00

Town of Albion: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 8:30-11:00 and 12:00-3:00

Town of Barre: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10:00-3:30

Town of Kendall: Monday-Friday 9:00-3:30 (closed for lunch from noon to 12:45)

Town of Murray: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9:00-4:00 / Saturday 9:00-12:00 p.m.

Village of Holley: Monday-Friday 8:00-4:00

Town of Clarendon: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 9:00-4:00 / Tuesday 12 noon-6:00 p.m. / Friday 9:00-2:00 / Saturday 10:00-12:00 p.m.

To report a Positive At-home Test:
Individuals can visit the GO Health website COVID-19 Testing page under Emerging Issues (GOHealthNY.org) and choose the appropriate Home Test button for their respective county. Individuals should complete the at-home tests according to the directions provided. When the test is completed, individuals should take a picture with the individual’s name, the date and the time they took the test legibly written in permanent marker within 15 minutes of reading the test. Towards the end of the online form, the individual will be required to upload the picture on the website and attest to the authenticity and truth of the form. If there are any missing sections that are required, the form is invalid. At this time, individuals do not need to report negative at-home test results. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is to self-isolate immediately. A case investigator will contact the individual to determine any potential contacts, check on the individual’s health and provide guidance on their isolation.  Please answer the phone and be able to provide information regarding potential contacts when called. Also note, depending on our case load, it may be one to three days before you are called.  It is important to continue with self- isolation from household members as much as you are able. If you must share space, make sure all in contact with you are wearing masks covering their nose and mouth and frequently shared items/surfaces are sanitized often.

December 31, 2021 - 6:57pm
posted by Press Release in Governor Hochul, nys, COVID, health, plan, news.

Press Release:

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced Winter Surge Plan 2.0, a new targeted effort to bolster New York's fight against the winter surge. Governor Hochul's comprehensive plan focuses on five core areas: keeping students in school, doubling down on masks and testing, preventing severe illness and death, increasing access to vaccines and boosters, and working together with local leaders. Hours before the New Year begins, Governor Hochul also urged New Yorkers to celebrate New Year's Eve in a safe, responsible way.    

"As we head into the holiday weekend, New York State is mobilizing every resource at our disposal to fight the winter surge and keep New Yorkers safe," Governor Hochul said. "We can get through this surge through targeted actions, partnerships with local leaders, and by taking common sense steps to keep us all safe: get vaccinated, get boosted, and wear a mask indoors."

"We have every tool to keep our families and communities safe," Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. "We must ensure we use them all. Governor Hochul's targeted plan to expand vaccination and booster access, mask and test, and increase measures to protect our health care workers is the comprehensive strategy needed to combat the fast-spreading Omicron variant. Leveraging these layered mitigation tactics is how we will protect the health of New Yorkers and effectively manage the winter surge." 

1. Keep Schools Open: After two years of remote learning and school closures, Governor Hochul is focused on keeping students in school in the upcoming year. The first plank of Governor Hochul's 5-part plan includes:    

  • Providing tests to students and school districts: 5.56 million tests arrived for schools this week and between six and seven million more are expected to arrive in the coming days. New York has mobilized 40 trucks and 86 state personnel to distribute tests. Overall, New York State has secured 37 million tests for distribution.
  • Working with counties to implement Test-to-Stay: Test-to-Stay policies have proven successful at keeping our kids safe and schools open. If a student tests positive, classmates can take a test kit back home with them and return to the classroom upon receiving a negative result instead of mandatory quarantining. 
  • Keeping college students and faculty safe: SUNY and CUNY will be introducing a new requirement for all students to get boosters, campuses will require mandatory mask wearing in public indoor spaces, and will require all faculty to be vaccinated. Students will also be required to submit negative tests upon returning to campus.

 2. Keep Masking, Keep Testing: Governor Hochul recognizes that to stop the spread of the virus, New Yorkers must continue wearing masks and getting tested for COVID. Governor Hochul will:

  • Extend the mask-or-vax requirement: the Department of Health will extend the mask-or-vaccine requirement for an additional two weeks, protecting workers and allowing businesses to remain open.
  • Make masks more widely available: New York State has already distributed 5 million KN-95 masks, and more will be distributed through state legislators. Hundreds of thousands of masks will also be distributed for nursing home visitors.
  • Launch new testing sites: Governor Hochul will open six new testing sites on January 4, totaling 19 state-run sites statewide. Additionally, Governor Hochul announced the launch of two new testing sites at MTA stations, in addition to previously announced MTA pop-ups.

3. Preventing Severe Illness and Death: With case counts rising, Governor Hochul is making it a priority to prevent severe illness and death by supporting our hospital system. The Winter Surge Plan 2.0 will:    

  • Distribute antiviral treatments: New York is working with the Biden Administration to secure doses of the antiviral drug Pavloxid and make this treatment more widely available.
  • Boost hospital capacity: Governor Hochul will continue enforcing the November 26 Executive Order to boost hospital capacity. Since it took effect, the number of hospitals with limited capacity needing to pause non-essential surgeries has declined from 32 to 21.    
  • Launch National Guard EMT training: to ramp up our long-term health care workforce capacity needs, the Department of Health and the Division of Military and Naval Affairs will be launching two pilot EMT training classes on January 5th. This will cover two classes of 40 service members (80 service members in total) who will be able to be deployed by February.
  • Secure additional help from Federal partners: in the coming days, we will receive federal Department of Defense (DoD) Medical Response and Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs). This will include a 35-member DMAT to SUNY Upstate in Syracuse, 23-member DoD Medical Response Team to Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, and 50 new ambulance teams deployed to NYC.
  • Protect nursing home residents and workers: the Hochul Administration is in constant contact with all 606 nursing homes in New York and will be providing them with additional PPE to ensure the safety of all patients and staff. Additionally, the Administration is coordinating with hospitals and will be deploying durable medical equipment in continued support of the care for all New Yorkers.

4. Expand Access to Vaccines and Boosters: Vaccines continue to be the best defense against COVID hospitalization and death. While 95% of adult New Yorkers have received at least one shot, there's more to do to increase vaccination and booster rates, especially among children:

  • Provide boosters to nursing homes: New York will begin requiring each nursing home to demonstrate their plan to increase vaccination and booster rates among their residents.    
  • Increase pediatric vaccination: the most unvaccinated eligible cohort is New Yorkers aged 5-11. New York will increase our focus on pediatric vaccination.    
  • Get booster shots to teenagers: we anticipate approval of Pfizer's booster shot for children aged 12-15 and will immediately begin outreach to that population once ready.

5. Work With Local Partners: From the beginning, Governor Hochul has emphasized that the fight against COVID must take a collaborative approach. Fighting the winter surge requires close collaboration with local partners:    

  • Let local leaders lead: from New York City to Erie County, local leaders are making smart choices. We will continue this surgical, targeted approach.    
  • Provide resources to local partners: Governor Hochul will continue to lead a whole-of-government approach to fight COVID, making sure county emergency managers and local school boards have the tests and masks they need. 


December 23, 2021 - 1:47pm
posted by Press Release in Schumer, upstate, news, COVID.

Press Release:

With COVID’s Omicron variant spreading and Upstate New York overwhelmed by the latest surge, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today launched a major push to get the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to expand testing capacity and support for Upstate communities.  Schumer made a personal call to FEMA Assistant Administrator Keith Turi and Acting FEMA Region 2 Administrator Chad Gorman to urge them to deploy 200 mobile testing sites in New York, 100 across New York State and an additional 100 in New York City. Schumer said that expanding access to testing is key to stopping the spread of COVID-19, especially as we enter the peak of holiday travel and the heart of the harsh winter months.

“Upstate New York is seeing record high COVID cases, and with variants like Omicron already here, we must stop the spread in its tracks and that means testing testing testing. That is why I am calling on FEMA to immediately deploy mobile testing sites across Upstate New York, to give struggling communities the support they need to keep their residents safe,” said Senator Schumer. “Especially as people travel over the winter holidays, easy access to testing is critical to ensure the safety of themselves and loved ones. FEMA must provide Upstate communities the support they need to protect public health and to stay ahead of this variant into the winter.” 

New York State today saw a record over 28,000 new coronavirus infections over a 24-hour period, signifying a significant increase in case counts from just a week ago.

Schumer’s request comes on the heels of his successful push for the federal government to provide free at-home tests to New York community health centers & mobile sites. President Biden announced earlier this week that the federal government woulddeliver 500 million free at-home rapid testing starting in January. Schumer said that these at home testing kits in tandem with 200 mobile testing sites in the communities that need them most is vital to protecting the health of New Yorkers.

“We now have the testing infrastructure and tools we didn’t have early on in the pandemic,” said Schumer. “It’s one of the keys to stop this surge and keep recovery going.”

According to the World Health Organization, the most effective steps individuals can take to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus is to keep a physical distance of at least 6-feet; wear a well-fitting mask; open windows to improve ventilation; avoid poorly ventilated or crowded spaces; keep hands clean; cough or sneeze into a bent elbow or tissue; and get vaccinated.


A copy of Senator Schumer’s original letter to FEMA appears below:

 Dear Administrator Criswell:

I write today to ask for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) assistance as we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent increase in cases due to the Omicron variant. The spike in cases has brought upon an increased demand for testing that is sure to strain the already robust testing infrastructure in New York City. In addition to supporting the City of New York’s request for an increased supply of at-home test kits, I ask that FEMA authorize the opening of 100 mobile test sites in New York City, and 100 additional mobile test sites across the rest of the state, including in Long Island.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, FEMA has played a central role in New York City’s fight against COVID-19. While I am grateful for these efforts and for the work of FEMA staffers, I ask that FEMA continue this partnership and build on its efforts as cases increase due to the Omicron variant. On December 21, 2021 New York City recorded its highest 7-day daily average of cases at nearly 9,500 cases. As reports of daily cases and hospitalizations continue to trend upward, it is vital that FEMA provide the City with the necessary resources to help slow this spread. With more testing capabilities in the form of at-home kits and testing sites, the City can better gauge the trends of this variant and provide more accurate guidance and information to residents.

Thank you again for your leadership and assistance over the past year as New York and the nation continue battling COVID-19. FEMA has been an invaluable partner in combatting this pandemic and I ask that as the Omicron variant spreads rapidly you continue this partnership and swiftly provide New York City the increased at-home testing kits requested in their letter to the Administration and authorize the opening of 100 testing sites across the City and 100 additional sites across the State.  

I appreciate your attention to this important matter and look forward to your response. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office with any questions


December 10, 2021 - 3:10pm

Press Relase from the office of Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

“Haphazardly implementing a statewide mask mandate in the middle of the holiday season, a period many businesses rely on to make ends meet for the year, is entirely unnecessary and will only handicap our small businesses during a make-or-break time for their operations. Protecting public health is important, but decisions such as this should be left to the local health authorities that know better than anyone what’s really going on in their communities. I had hoped our new governor would take a more measured approach to keeping the pandemic at bay, but it is clear now more than ever that she will continue to rule our state from the top down, to the detriment of New York families and businesses alike.”

Assemblyman Hawley represents the 139th District, which consists of Genesee, Orleans and parts of Monroe County. For more information, please visit Assemblyman Hawley’s Official Website.

December 9, 2021 - 11:35pm
posted by Press Release in state, news, COVID, NYS Department of Health.

Press Release:

The letter states, “Without question, no one cares about the health and well-being of our region’s children more than parents and local school administrators, faculty, and staff. In addition, it is undeniable that students benefit from in-person instruction and that every effort should be madeto keep kids in school. As such, we believe that we should respect the parents & school administrator’s opinions, guidance, and data regarding the viability, effectiveness, and safety of developing a “Test to Stay” program for schools.”

The letter:

Dear Governor Hochul:
We are writing to request that the New York State Department of Health work with local school districts to develop “Test to Stay” guidelines for students. It is our understanding that several districts from across the Erie- Niagara region have already contacted you as well as the Department of Health with this request, and as elected officials representing this area, we urge you to consider their request. Without question, no one cares about the health and well-being of our region’s children more than parents and local school administrators, faculty, and staff. In addition, it is undeniable that students benefit from in-person instruction and that every effort should be made to keep kids in school. As such, we believe that we should respect the parents & school administrator’s opinions, guidance, and data regarding the viability, effectiveness, and safety of developing a “Test to Stay” program for schools. According to the Erie-Niagara School Superintendents Association (ENSSA), in a regional survey of 30 districts between September 1st and October 14th of this year, approximately 2500 students have been quarantined, and fewer than 2% ever tested positive for COVID-19 during their quarantine period. Meaning nearly 2,450 healthy students missed significant learning time in the classroom because the State does not allow local districts to establish guidelines for students who have proven to be healthy, to return to school. As you recently noted, the current surge in COVID-19 cases is different, and as a society and government, we are much more knowledgeable and better equipped to confront ongoing challenges. We respectfully ask that you honor the ENSSA’s request and “require the Department of Health to: 1. Help keep healthy children in school by providing technical, financial, and other necessary support to facilitate statewide implementation of a “Test to Stay” strategy. 2. Replace open-ended COVID-19 related mandates and restrictions with data and science-based metrics for implementation and de-implementation of mitigation strategies.” While not perfect, we believe that a robust “Test to Stay” program is the best option to keep our children safe and ensure that healthy children can reenter the classroom as quickly and safely as possible. Serial testing has proven successful in other states across the nation, and we would encourage New York State to develop, adopt, and support a “Test to Stay” program for local schools.

Thank you for your consideration of this critical matter. We look forward to hearing from you.


State Senator – 61st District             

Robert G. Ortt                                           Patrick M. Gallivan
State Senator – 62nd District             State Senator – 59th District

George M. Borrello                                     Michael J. Norris
State Senator – 57th District                  State Assemblyman – 144th District

Angelo J. Morinello                                      David DiPietro
State Assemblyman – 145th District      State Assemblyman – 147th District

Joseph M. Giglio
State Assemblyman – 148th District




July 15, 2021 - 2:35pm

Press release:

Following his successful passage of the broader American Rescue Plan earlier this year, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer heralded the Child Tax Credit expansion, which will allow payments of up to $300 per child to automatically go out to families across New York each month – starting TODAY July 15. Schumer said the plan will impact more than 86 percent of New York children.

The Finger Lakes Region, which includes Genesee County, is expected to receive Expanded Child Tax Credits totaling more than $435 million.

“Help is here for working families across New York in the form of enhanced Child Tax Credits that put more money in families’ pockets to recover from COVID even as its boosts New York’s economy,” Senator Schumer said. “Over 86 percent of families throughout New York will benefit from the enhanced Child Tax Credit just as they begin to fully recover from the global health and economic pandemic that rocked our country for the past year.

"That is why I made sure this relief bill included help for New York families, because this significant expansion of the Child Tax Credit will cut the nation’s child poverty rate in half and bring necessary relief. The credit expansion – on top of the $1,400 direct checks that came earlier this year – will provide New York’s families with thousands of dollars of relief, directly in their pockets. Getting additional federal dollars into the hands of struggling families not only makes sense, but it’s what’s needed to help the New York recover from the pandemic.”

Schumer explained the Child Tax Credit (CTC), one of the most powerful and effective anti-poverty tools the federal government has, was significantly expanded for American households in the American Rescue Plan. This tax-credit expansion will deliver an estimated $7.03 billion in additional economic relief to families with children across New York and have a major impact on working families.

Schumer highlighted that researchers have estimated that the American Rescue Plan – including the expanded Child Tax Credit – will cut the child poverty rate in half nationally. Specifically, the relief bill increases the Child Tax Credit amount from $2,000 to $3,000 per child age 6 to 17 (and $3,600 per child below the age of 6) for 2021.

Additionally, the bill makes the CTC fully refundable and removes the $2,500 earnings floor to receive the credit for 2021, ensuring that the lowest income households will be able to benefit from the maximum credit amount for the year.

This change importantly corrected flaws in the credit that prevented around 27 million children nationwide whose families have little or no income from receiving the full benefit – and in New York State alone, this credit expansion will benefit 1,546,000 of these children who were previously left out of the full Child Tax Credit.

The increased $3,000 or $3,600 CTC is available to families making less than $150,000, and it phases down above that income level, so household incomes of more than $150,000 will see a reduced credit.

This boosted credit amount is particularly impactful in lower-income households, as it has been found that increasing a low-income child’s family income early in their life has numerous, critical longer-term benefits on education, health, and even employment. Specifically, it is estimated that a $3,000 increase in annual family income for children under age 5 translates into an estimated 19-percent earnings increase in adulthood.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, an estimated 3,564,000 children across New York will benefit from this expanded tax credit – including 583,000 Black, 954,000 Latino, and 266,000 Asian American children. It will also lift 680,000 children in the state above or closer to the poverty line.

The total amount of Expanded Child Tax Credit headed to each region in New York State can be found below:  



Southern Tier


Capital Region




Hudson Valley


Long Island




Finger Lakes






June 28, 2021 - 12:11pm
posted by Press Release in ARC Genesee Orleans, news, Sen. Ed Rath, COVID, Nurses Week.

Submitted photo and press release:

During Nurses Week (May 6th through 12th) Senator Ed Rath sought nominations of local nurses to honor. 

“The outpouring of nominations we saw was tremendous," Rath said. "Our nurses play such a critical role in our communities, and I believe that COVID really highlighted the importance of our medical professionals. 

“The stories we heard about our local nurses was nothing short of amazing. We are extremely fortunate to have so many amazing men and women willing to put others before themselves.:

More than 200 nominations were received from throughout the 61st Senate District. 

In photo aboe, Senator Rath presents ARC Genesee Orleans nurse Kristie Rada with a certificate of recognition to honor her work.

February 11, 2021 - 12:08pm
posted by Press Release in Hollwedel Memorial Library, Pavilion, news, COVID, Wi-Fi.

Submitted image and press release:

Now more than ever, it’s important to be able to connect to the internet so the Hollwedel Memorial Library has a Wi-Fi area that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“We know that not everyone has access to the internet, and especially during the COVID pandemic, residents have been using our Wi-Fi and computers for all sorts of tasks,” says Josselyn Borowiec, library director. “We want everyone to know that when we are not open, they can still pull into our parking lot Wi-Fi area and connect at any time of the day or night.”

Residents can also use the computer stations inside the library that have popular software and provide access to the internet at no charge.

Information about the many programs and services available at the library can be found on the library’s website at www.HollwedelLibrary.org. Residents with questions can also contact the library by phone at (585) 584-8843 or stop by 5 Woodrow Drive in Pavilion. 

Current hours are: Monday and Wednesday 2 to 7 p.m. / Friday 1 to 5 p.m. / Saturday 10 a.m. to noon / Closed Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

Photo: Hollwedel Library Director Josselyn Borowiec demonstrates using the library’s Wi-Fi in the Wi-Fi area designated by the signs in front of the building.

December 15, 2020 - 12:39pm

Press release:

The North Bergen Community Food Pantry and the Bergen business, Rose Garden Bowl, have worked together to assure that more than 100 area children experience some of the magic of the holidays in the form of Christmas stockings this year.

This is the second year that the two organizations have collaborated on their Christmas Angel Stocking Program, soliciting donations of stockings filled with toys and personal items.

Donations are being made by bowling league members and patrons of Rose Garden Bowl, members of the North Bergen Presbyterian Church and the First Presbyterian Church of Byron congregations, and local families.  

The number of stockings donated has more than doubled — from 45 in 2019 to 109 stockings in 2020. In all more than 60 generous donors have gathered items for the stockings that will be distributed to 47 families. Recipients of the stockings are largely families that are clients of the North Bergen Food Pantry.   

 “We’ve seen a 100-percent increase in patrons visiting the pantry since March,” said Dave Fish, pastor at the North Bergen Presbyterian Church that organizes the Pantry services. “There has always been, and will always be, need in our community but the impact that COVID is having on families in our region is devastating.

"It’s the pantry's mission to lessen that impact by feeding both body and spirit. Assuring that children experience some of the magic of Christmas is an important ingredient of that mission.”  

“We believe in giving back to our community and was encouraged by the response of our Rose Garden Bowl family of patrons to our request for stocking sponsors this year” said Christina Sardou, co-owner at Rose Garden Bowl. “Initially I was concerned that the number of people who could participate might be affected by the pandemic, but the opposite was true. Peoples’ eagerness to assist has been both humbling and inspiring.”

The program started in 2019 when Sardou suggested the idea of partnering on the program.

“Dave and I had had a few conversations about the Food Pantry and we had stored some surplus frozen foods for the pantry at times when their space was limited,” Sardou said. “During these conversations, I asked if he had considered doing something for local children at Christmas, and described how the Church and the Rose Garden Bowl family and friends might collaborate to create a Christmas stocking drive. The rest is history.” 

The North Bergen Community Food Pantry — North Bergen Presbyterian Church, 7068 N. Bergen Road, Bergen. Pantry hours: the third and fourth Wednesday of each month from 6 to 8 p.m. and the third and fourth Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. For more information visit the Pantry’s Facebook page.

Rose Garden Bowl and Viking Valhalla Restaurant — 21 Buffalo Road, Bergen. (585) 494-9900). Family-owned and operated since 1954. For more information about banquets, bowling and volleyball, visit rosegardenbowl.com or on Facebook.

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