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Health Department reminds residents of the importance of flu shots

By Press Release

Press release:

National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is December 5-9, 2022.  This is an annual observance in December to remind everyone that there is still time to get vaccinated against the flu to be protected during the upcoming holidays and winter months.  “The best way to reduce your risk from seasonal flu and its potentially serious complications is by getting the flu vaccine every year,” stated Paul Pettit, Public Health Director for Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health). “The vaccine lowers the chance of getting you and those around you sick with the flu. It also reduces the burden on the health care system by reducing doctor visits and hospitalizations.” 

Everyone 6 months or older should get a flu vaccine every year. It's best to get the flu vaccine early on in flu season, ideally by the end of October. You might wonder, is it too late to get vaccinated?  The simple answer is no. “Getting the vaccine later is better than not getting it at all,” said Mr. Pettit. “Once you have the flu vaccine, research shows that the vaccination reduces the risk of severe illness if you do get the flu.”

Vaccination is also important for people who live with or care for high-risk individuals to prevent spreading the flu to them. Individuals who are considered higher risk include younger children, pregnant people, people with certain chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or lung disease, and people 65 years and older. Children younger than 6 months old are also at a higher risk of serious flu illness because they are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for or are around infants should be vaccinated to protect those that are vulnerable and cannot be vaccinated.

Below are the number of reported flu cases for Genesee and Orleans Counties since 2018, according to the New York State Department of Health. Note that there was limited flu reported in 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 compared to annual averages because of the heightened focus on practicing public health precautions such as frequent hand washing, social distancing, staying home when ill, limiting social gatherings, and wearing face coverings. During that period, less germs were spread due to people staying home and limiting their contact with others outside of their households as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 NYS Department of Health Confirmed Cases of Influenza


Genesee County

Orleans County













2022-2023 (as of 11/26/22)



In addition to receiving your flu vaccine, you can take preventative actions every day to help stop the spread of germs:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • If you are sick, stay home and limit contact with others as much as possible so that you prevent the spread of infection.
    • For flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or other necessities. Please note that stay-at-home guidance is different for COVID-19.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently shared surfaces and objects

To find a vaccine site near you visit:

For more information about Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments, visit You can also visit GO Health on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by searching @GoHealthNY.

After a lull in new COVID cases, Le Roy, like county, has seen more positive tests

By Howard B. Owens

When the mask mandate was first lifted for students in public schools, the number of COVID cases reported amount the Le Roy Central Schools population was low to non-existent, Superintendent Merritt Holly told school board members at Tuesday's meeting.

But like the rest of the community, case numbers have been rising, he said.

"It's just something that is just hanging here as we get into the spring," Holly said. "I think as you've seen, flu numbers are still up. The two haven't gone away. We had a good stretch where we went a couple of weeks with no cases at all and since we've come back from break, we've had three or four (cases), five on a day. So they're up a little bit from where we were."

What Le Roy is seeing in cases mirrors what is being reported in the county as a whole, though in the past week, the number of new cases has leveled off.

There were 283 new cases reported in Genesee County for the week ending May 10, which is down slightly from the 286 cases reported the week before.

As for flu, there were 14 cases reported in Genesee County in the last week of April, according to the state's flu tracker web site.  There were 19 flu cases reported the week before and five the week before that.


Flu shots available at Tops

By Press Release

Press release:

Now more than ever the importance of getting your annual flu shot to prevent the spread of this highly communicable illness is vital, but did you know that you can get your flu shot for a $0 copay or a nominal fee at Tops Friendly Markets? At Tops our pharmacists’ number-one priority is the health of our community so this year we are enhancing our safety procedures to encourage the community to get their vaccination.   

While Tops safety protocols have already been increased significantly throughout the COVID pandemic, you’ll find that when you come for your flu shot our pharmacists and pharmacy staff will be wearing both a mask and a shield, gloves, and additional cleaning procedures are in place. Customers will be asked to have their temperature checked, and new health screening questions will be asked of you in addition to our standard vaccine form to ensure that you are able to receive the vaccination.

Getting your flu shots reduces your risk of getting the flu, keeps you out of your doctor’s office or hospital, and helps conserve potentially scarce healthcare resources. Some commonly asked questions surrounding flu shot include "Do I qualify for the shot? or "Will it cure COVID-19?". While the flu shot WILL NOT prevent COVID-19, a healthy body has an easier time fighting off a COVID-19 infection. A new study suggests that getting a flu shot may make COVID-19 less lethal. According to the CDC, different flu vaccines are approved for use in different groups of people.

So whether you’re getting vaccinated to make sure your loved ones are kept free from the flu, your coworkers, or simply to take better care of your own personal health-the safest and easiest way to fight the flu is to get your shot today!

So what are you waiting for?  

  • Tops offers vaccinations at any Tops location that has a pharmacy (including both Genesee County locations -- Batavia and Le Roy);
  • Flu shots are available during normal pharmacy hours;
  • It's important to get your flu shot in September or October each year;
  • Everyone needs a flu shot even if you're young and healthy, getting a flu shot helps to keep your whole community safe.

Public Health Column: This is National Influenza Week, get your flu shot

By Billie Owens

From the Genesee County Health Department:

Dec. 1st – 7th is this year’s National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW).

As family and friends are gathering for the holidays, flu activity is increasing. NIVW serves as a reminder it is not too late to get a flu vaccine.

Paul Pettit, Public Health director of Genesee and Orleans counties wants to remind folks that when you get a flu vaccine, you are also protecting your loved ones and your community.

“Getting vaccinated isn’t just about keeping  you healthy; it is also about helping to protect others around you who may be at risk of becoming very sick, such asbabies, older adults, and pregnant women,” he said.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs.

When someone with the flu coughs, sneezes, or talks, they spray tiny droplets. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby.

People can also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touch their own mouth, nose, or eyes.

Influenza can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Although the majority of hospitalizations and deaths occur in people 65 years and older, healthy young children and adults can have severe disease or even die from the flu.

“To be protected against the flu, you have to get the vaccine every year,” said Brenden Bedard, director of Community Health Services of Genesee and Orleans counties.

“Because flu viruses are constantly changing, flu vaccines may be updated from one season to the next to protect against the viruses that research suggests may be most common during the upcoming flu season. For the best protection, everyone 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated annually.”

In addition to receiving the flu shot, it is also important to practice good health habits.

The tips below will help you learn about ways you can protect yourself and others from germs this season.

  • Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing – or cough/sneeze into your elbow if no tissues are available. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Flu and other serious respiratory illnesses, like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and whooping cough are spread by coughing, sneezing, or unclean hands.
  • Wash your hands. Good hand washing takes 20 seconds. Sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice while you wash. Scrub with soap and water to remove germs. Always wash hands before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, spending time outside, touching animals, using the bathroom, or changing a baby’s diaper. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Practice other good health habits. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Flu seasons are unpredictable and can last late into the spring.

As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination should continue throughout the flu season in order to protect as many people as possible. It’s important to remember that it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza virus infection.

If you have not received your annual flu vaccine this year, now is the time! To find a place near you to get a flu vaccine, visit HealthMap Vaccine Finder.

For information about Health Department services contact the Genesee County Health Department at 344-2580, ext. 5555, or visit their website.

Visitor restrictions implemented at UMMC due to flu

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

To help reduce further transmission of influenza, Rochester Regional Health is instituting visitor restrictions for the following hospitals:

  • United Memorial Medical Center
  • Rochester General Hospital (Rochester) 
  • Unity Hospital (Greece)

Visitor restrictions:

  • Visitors will be limited to no more than two people per patient at a time;
  • All visitors must be at least 14 years old;
  • Please do not visit a patient if you feel you are ill, including sore throat, fever, runny nose, coughing, sneezing or other flu-like symptoms - even if you have been vaccinated against the flu.

NOTE: The Batavian spoke briefly with Paul Pettit, county health director, and he said flu reports this season are above average -- about 40 cases -- but well below the 200 or so that were reported by this time last year.

It's National Flu Vaccination Week -- Did you get your flu shot yet?

By Billie Owens

Press release:

The Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County health departments are challenging county residents to choose "Healthy Behaviors" during National Influenza Vaccination Week from Dec. 2-8th. 'Tis the season of influenza (flu), where keeping hands clean and covering up coughs/sneezes are friendly ways of not spreading the flu to others.

We are encouraging everyone who can, big and small, to get the flu shot this year as a good way to be safe from the flu. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that a flu vaccination has many benefits, which can prevent you from getting sick with the flu.

CDC also states that during the 2017-2018 flu season the flu vaccine prevented: 49 million flu illnesses, 79,000 deaths, and 960,000 flu-related hospitalizations. For anyone over 6 months old, please get the flu shot as a healthy and safe gift to yourself and your family this holiday season.

Being vaccinated will help to protect babies (less than 6 months old) and individuals with medical conditions who cannot receive the flu vaccine.

It takes about two weeks after getting the flu vaccine for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body, so making plans now is a wise choice.

Per the CDC, children aged 6 months to 8 years old require two doses of flu vaccine (administered ≥ four weeks apart) if they have never been vaccinated against flu before, their vaccination history is unknown, or they haven’t received two doses before July 1, 2016.

“Influenza activity is increasing each week throughout New York State, laboratory cases so firths season have been confirmed in Genesee and Wyoming Counties,” said Brenden Bedard, director of Community Health Services for Genesee and Orleans.

Tips to Stay Healthy During Flu Season:

  • Wash your hands throughout the day with soap and water, or sanitizer when you’re not by a sink;
  • Cover up coughs and sneezes with your arm or tissue. Be sure to wash your hands afterward;

  • Limit handshaking and hugs during the flu season;

  • Clean and disinfect commonly touched items, including but not limited to, phones, computers, other electronic items, countertops/surfaces, door knobs, and toys.

To learn more about the flu visit the New York State Department of Health website here.

For information about Health Department services contact the Genesee County Health Department at: 344-2580, ext. 5555, or visit their website here.

Genesee County catches second wave of flu season

By Howard B. Owens


As County Health Director Paul Pettit anticipated, there are a few more cases of flu reported locally after a sharp decline from the peak of the season in February.

It's too soon to tell, Petit said, how strong this second wave of cases will be.

"Until we get the next report, we're not sure if it's going to go back down or back up," Petit said.

For the week ending March 31, there were 23 reported flu cases in Genesee County, up from just 13 the week before.

Statewide, the trend is also toward a second wave of flu cases.

"It’s very typical in most seasons, have a peak and then numbers will tail off but then usually there is a second wave," Petit said. "It's usually not expected to be as prevalent."

In total for Genesee County, there have been 683 flu cases reported this season. Petit said typically we would have from 150 to 200 flu cases.

"It's never too late to get a (flu) shot," Petit said; however, he urged people who start to have flu-like symptoms to try and avoid contact with other people and if they take an antiviral medication such as Tamiflu, that will help.

Flu cases have nearly quadrupled in Genesee County so far this season

By Howard B. Owens

Genesee County is not immune from one of the worst outbreaks of flu in New York on record.

Health Department Director Paul Pettit said there have been 149 confirmed cases of flu in Genesee County so far this season, compared to just 38 at this point last year.

"This type of increase has been seen across the state and country," Pettit said.

Across the state, there were 6,083 flu cases reported according to the state's Department of Health. There were 1,606 people hospitalized with confirmed cases of the flu in New York. That's the highest number recorded since the state started tracking flu cases in 2004.

There have been no flu-related deaths reported in Genesee County, Pettit said.

Across the nation, 30 children have died as a result of the flu, and the majority of those children were probably not vaccinated, the CDC reports. Adult flu-related deaths are generally not reported and tracked.

Dr. Dan Jernigan, director of the influenza division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said he's concerned that early reports that the current vaccine is only 10 percent effective may have misled people into thinking they shouldn't bother with the vaccine. 

Even if the vaccine doesn't prevent a person from contracting a specific flu strain, it does lessen the severity of the symptoms and can help avoid hospitalization. The current vaccine does protect against multiple strains of flu. Flu shots also helps prevent the spread of the flu, especially to vulnerable people such as children and the elderly.

Pettit encouraged local residents to get vaccinated soon.

"The season typically peaks by the end of February, so we are still strongly encouraging folks to get the flu shot," Pettit said. "It remains the best protection for yourself and others and getting the shot often helps reduce the severity and duration of the flu if you do get it."

Flu prompts visitor restrictions at UMMC starting Wednesday

By Billie Owens

Press release:

To help reduce further transmission of influenza and/or other infectious diseases, Rochester Regional Health is instituting the following restrictions for hospital visitors as of Jan. 3:

  • Visitors will be limited to no more than two people per patient at a time;
  • All visitors must be at least 14 years old;
  • Please do not visit a patient if you feel you are ill, including sore throat, fever, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, or other flu-like symptoms -- even if you have been vaccinated against the flu.

Status as of Jan. 3 (tomorrow):

  • Rochester General Hospital (Rochester) – Visitor restrictions in place
  • Unity Hospital (Greece) –  Visitor restrictions in place
  • United Memorial Hospital (Batavia) – Visitor restrictions in place
  • Newark-Wayne Community Hospital (Newark) – Visitor restrictions in place
  • Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic (Clifton Springs) – Visitor restrictions in place


Rochester Regional Health is an integrated health services organization serving the people of Western New York, the Finger Lakes and beyond. The system includes five hospitals; primary and specialty practices, rehabilitation centers, ambulatory campuses and immediate care facilities; innovative senior services, facilities and independent housing; a wide range of behavioral health services; and Rochester Regional Health Laboratories and ACM Global Laboratories, a global leader in patient and clinical trials. Rochester Regional Health is the region’s second largest employer. Learn more

Health officials urge public to get flu shot to protect against 'the ruthless virus'

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Flu season is here, whether we’re ready for it, or not. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has declared the first week in December National Influenza Vaccination Week. This week heightens awareness that the flu vaccine is still available for those who have not protected themselves against the ruthless virus.

According to Mari Hamilton, public health educator for the Genesee County Health Department, the latest weekly influenza surveillance report of the Center for Disease Control confirms cases of the flu in Genesee County.

The flu has the ability to infect each and every one of us, even those who claim they “never get the flu.” The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. Symptoms of the flu include:

  • Cough
  • Fever Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (very tired)
  • Vomiting and diarrhea

The flu virus spreads by tiny droplets produced when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. A person can contract the flu by breathing in these tiny droplets. It is also possible for an individual to pick up the flu by touching an item that has the flu virus on it, such as a phone, door knob, or keyboard and then touch their mouth, nose or face.

It is important to not only protect yourself from the flu but also protect the ones you love as well. Anyone who develops the flu can pass it along to someone at high risk of severe illness, including the elderly and infants younger than 6 months who are too young to get the vaccine.

Brenden Bedard, director of Community Health Services of Genesee and Orleans Counties, explains that “children, pregnant women, individuals with chronic illnesses (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease), and people aged 65 years and older are at a much higher risk for developing critical health issues due to the flu.

These individuals may have a weakened immune system, therefore making it more difficult for them to fight off the flu. These individuals are more likely to be hospitalized due to severe flu complications.”

In 2016 there were 282 reported lab cases of the flu confirmed in Genesee County and 83 reported lab cases of the flu confirmed in Orleans County. These numbers are projected to increase this flu season. The New York State Department of Health already has lab cases of the flu confirmed in Genesee County. Receiving an annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect against this very serious disease.

“The flu vaccine is altered each year based on the surveillance data that experts collect to predict what strains of the virus will cause the most illness," Bedard said. "That means that the flu vaccine you received last year may be different than the one created this year. It is also notable to state that over time the flu vaccine does wear off, making it necessary to receive it annually.”

After you receive your flu shot, it is important to take preventative measures to continue staying healthy.

  • Good handwashing is a habit that should be practiced all year round. During flu season, it is crucial to scrub your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap. Use a paper towel to open the door.
  • Wipe off surfaces with a disinfectant solution regularly to get rid of germs.
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow.
  • Be courteous to dispose of used tissues into a waste bin and wash your hands after.
  • Stay home if you are sick!
  • Eat a diet rich in healthy nutrients such as fruits and vegetables containing antioxidants and vitamins.
    • Sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, and citrus fruits are great examples.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Receive about 7-9 restful hours of sleep each night.

Getting the flu vaccine not only protects yourself, but the people around you as well. With the flu activity increasing and family and friends gathering for the holidays, now is a great time to get a flu vaccine if you have not already received one this season. To find a location near you to receive your flu shot, please visit:

For information about services that your local health department provides visit:

County Health Department issues Flu Alert, advises getting vaccinated

By Billie Owens

A Flu Alert has been issued by the Genesee County Health Department:

ALERT: Over the last few weeks, flu cases are on the rise locally and throughout New York! The flu virus tends to spread from October to May, with most cases occurring in January or February.

“It is important to note that vaccinations can be given at any time during the flu season," said Brenden Bedard, director of Community Health Services for Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments. "Even getting a vaccination later in the season (December through March) can still help protect you from influenza."

For information on positive influenza laboratory results reported to the New York State Department of Health by season, click on the link below:

It is important to call your doctor, pharmacist or health department to make sure they have a supply of flu vaccine in stock before going.           

Everyone six months and older should be vaccinated against the flu. The vaccine can help protect you from getting the flu, and it can help protect the ones you love.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you get the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available to you, even if you got vaccinated last season.

There are two main reasons for getting the flu vaccine every year. The flu viruses constantly change, so vaccines are often updated from one season to the next to protect against the most recent and the most common viruses going around. The other reason is, the protection a person gets from receiving a flu vaccination declines over time. For example, if you are vaccinated in November, 10 months down the road your protection against that year’s flu is not as strong as it was when you originally were vaccinated.

Anyone, even healthy people, can get sick from the flu. This illness can be very serious, and can lead to hospitalizations and even death. According to the CDC, each year in the United States a range of 3,000 to 49,000 people die from the flu or flu-associated illnesses.

“Being vaccinated every flu season is especially important for those at high risk for serious flu-related complications. It is also as important for those who live with or care for people who are at high risk,” said Paul Pettit, director of Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments.

People with higher risks for flu-related complications are:

  • Pregnant women (can only receive flu shots, not the nasal-spray flu vaccine) to provide protection for themselves and their babies;
  • Children younger than five, but especially children younger than 2 years old;
  • Adults age 65 and older;
  • Individuals with a chronic medical condition such as asthma, diabetes, HIV, etc.;
  • Residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities;
  • People who life with or care for those at high risk of complications from the flu, including health care personnel, household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children younger than 6 months (these children are too young to be vaccinated), and caregivers of infants in Neonatal Intensive Care Units.

Flu-related complications can result in hospitalization and occasionally result in death. Complications include pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus or ear infections. The flu also can make chronic health problems worse. For example, those who have asthma, often experience more asthma attacks when they are ill with the flu.

It is also important to know there are some people who should not be vaccinated. They include:

  • Children younger than 6 months;
  • People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination in the past;
  • People who have developed Guillain- Barré syndrome within six weeks of getting a flu vaccination;
  • If you have a severe allergy to chicken eggs, you can get the flu shot, but you will need to be supervised by a health care provider for at least 30 minutes after vaccination;
  • People who are sick with fever.

More information about the flu is available at the State Health Department Web Site at:

For information about influenza or health department services contact:

Increase in local flu cases prompts visitor restrictions at UMMC

By Billie Owens

Press release:

With the continued increase in the number of influenza cases at United Memorial Medical Center and in the community, the Hospital will be strictly following established visitor guidelines and implementing restrictions in order to safeguard the health of our patients.

Effective March 10, patients at United Memorial will be allowed only two (2) visitors at one time. No visitors under the age of 14 years will be allowed. Individuals with a sore throat, runny nose, fever, or other influenza type symptoms should not visit patients.

As an organization we understand the importance of loved ones and friends in the healing process. Exceptions to the visitor policy must be approved by the unit manager or nursing supervisor prior to the visitor’s arrival at the hospital. These restrictions have been put into place to protect those with weakened or fragile immune systems and those who care for them, from harm during the influenza outbreak.

Everyone should remember to use appropriate hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette to prevent the spread of influenza. Symptoms may include fever, muscle aches, sore throat, cough or nasal congestion. Individuals with fever over 100.5˚F and any of the symptoms listed are urged to stay home, seek medical advice as necessary and limit the number of people exposed. Individuals with influenza are contagious for 24 hours prior to exhibiting symptoms.

The hospital is located at 127 North St. in the City of Batavia.

Already higher than average number of flu cases reported in Genesee County

By Howard B. Owens

Flu viruses are hitting most of the nation pretty hard and Genesee County is no exception.

There have been 107 verified cases locally, according to Public Health Director Paul Pettit.

The number of verified cases is already higher than the average of an entire flu season in Genesee County.

"We're still pretty early in the primary flu season," Pettit said. "With what we've seen already, it's clear we have quite a ways to go with seasonal activity."

The flu season is typically January and into April, with the highest activity usually reported in January and February.

A verified flu case is one where there has been a lab test on a patient. Pettit noted that many flu cases never get reported or tested so there have certainly been more than 107 flu cases in Genesee County.

Pettit said anybody with flu symptoms should contact their physician; however, people should only go to the emergency room if displaying higher risk flu symptoms.

"A lot of emergency rooms are getting filled with people who don't really need to be there," Pettit said.

While there have been some reports of vaccine shortages in other parts of the country, Pettit said health department staff has checked with local pharmacies and found that for people 18 and older there is still a supply available.

"It's not to late to get a shot," Pettit said.

For children, supplies of vaccine is running low. The health department has a limited supply, but Pettit said parents should check first with their primary care physicians on availability. The health department's supply is available when other avenues to vaccinate chlldren have already been tried.

UMMC Family Care Centers to offer flu vaccine clinics

By Billie Owens

Here's a news release from the United Memorial Medical Center.

To date, United Memorial Family Care Centers have received only a percentage of their allotted shipment of influenza vaccine due to a manufacturing issue regarding labeling. The balance of the shipment is expected to be delivered by the end of October.

The initial shipment will be reserved for patients considered to be at “high risk” as defined by the New York State Department of Health. Patients of Batavia, Byron and Tountas Family Care Centers who are at high-risk for complications as defined below, should contact their physician office to schedule an appointment for vaccination.

High-risk patients include:

  • Children ages 6 to 59 months;
  • Individuals age 50 years and above who suffer from chronic health issues such as diabetes, asthma, and cardiovascular disease;
  • Those who are immuno-suppressed;
  • Women who are or become pregnant during the flu season;
  • American Indians/Alaska Natives;
  • The morbidly obese (body mass index > 40);
  • Health care professionals;
  • Caregivers and household contacts of persons with medical conditions that put them at higher risk for severe complications;
  • Caregivers and household contacts of children under 5 years of age and adults age 50 years and older with particular emphasis on vaccinating contacts of children under 6 months of age.

Batavia Family Care (including Yeong Lee, MD) at 16 Bank St., Batavia will conduct vaccination clinics for their high risk patients from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 28 and from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 29.

Patients should call (585) 344-4800 to schedule an appointment. Tountas Family Care at 3 Tountas Ave., LeRoy will schedule patients from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 30. Appointments can be made by phoning (585) 768-6530.

Patients at Byron Family Care, located at 6815 Byron Holley Road, Byron may call (585) 548-7155 to schedule an appointment for their clinic from 8 a.m. to noon on Oct. 1.

All patients are encouraged to receive the influenza vaccine. Those who are not identified as high-risk may call their physician office to schedule an appointment in late October and November. Influenza vaccines are also available at many retail pharmacies.

Kids under 10 need TWO doses of H1N1 vaccine

By Billie Owens

Here's important information for parents and guardians from the Genesee County Health Department:

In response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, the local health department has coordinated H1N1 vaccine distribution to numerous physician offices throughout the county. In addition, we have conducted several Points of Dispensing (POD’s) in order to assist the medical professionals in protecting our community against this virus. A large number of these clinics were established directly at schools within Genesee County prior to the holiday recess in December.

On Jan. 23, a clinic was held at the Batavia City Centre to target the child population requiring a second dose. Children less than 10 years of age need to receive two .25 ml doses of the vaccine at least 28 days apart, to provide the proper immune protection against the H1N1 Virus.

If your child has not received their second dose, we ask you contact the Genesee County Health Department or your primary care physician to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. The vaccine is FREE. Some physicians may require an administrative fee.

For more information on the H1N1 virus and for a schedule of H1N1 clinics in Genesee County, please visit: HYPERLINK "" or call the Genesee County Health Department for an appointment at: 585-344-2580 ext. 5000.

Free public flu clinics by appointment only

By Billie Owens

Free public influenza clinics will be held by appointment only from 2 to 4 p.m. on Thursdays until further notice.

The Genesee County Health Department offers both the H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines. To schedule an appointment, please contact the health department at (585) 344-2580, ext. 5000.

Parents of children ages 9 and under who received their first vaccination more than 28 days ago, are encouraged to bring those children to receive the second (booster) vaccination.  All children under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Additional information and a listing of the many volunteers who devoted their service to the residents of Genesee County throughout this endeavor, are available at and

Flu shots available from county in three upcoming clinics

By Howard B. Owens

If you haven't gotten a flu shot yet, the Genesee County Health Department has scheduled three more clinics.

There is a clinic today for both seasonal and H1N1 vaccines from noon to 4 p.m. at County Building II.

Another clinic has been set for Jan. 21 from noon to 4 p.m., and an H1N1-only clinic is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Jan. 23 at Batavia City Centre. On Jan. 23, priority will be given to children under 9 who need a booster vaccine.

The clinics are open to everyone over 6-months old.

The Health Department can be reached at (585) 344-2580, extension 5000.

Google says flu concerns in region currently minimal

By Howard B. Owens

When people have flu-like symptoms, or a friend or relative does, the first thing they do is hop on Google to see if they can self-diagnose or learn more about the illness.

Those searches spike when there are a lot of people feeling sick.

Google has found that its search trends correlate to Center for Disease Control reports, but CDC lags Google's real-time results by about two weeks.

The current trends show minimal concern in the Buffalo and Rochester area (they don't break it down for Batavia specifically) about the flu this month. 

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As H1N1 spreads, UMMC further restricts visits to patients

By Billie Owens

The spread of H1N1 flu virus has prompted a change in the visiting policy at United Memorial Medical Center.

As a result, starting this week no one under the age of 18 is allowed to visit patients. Heretofore, as with many hospitals, visitors had to be at least 14 years old, although there was flexibility and reasonable exceptions were made.

"We're becoming more restrictive about visitors -- it's for patient safety," said UMMC spokeswoman Colleen Flynn. "We don't want them to become infected. The virus can be especially harmful to a patient with an already compromised immune system."

Also under the new policy, there can only be two visitors per patient at any given time and visiting hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.. Certain units, such as intensive care and pediatrics, may have more time restrictions.

Maternity patients are only allowed visits from their spouse or significant other, and grandparents. Exceptions are considered on a case-by-case basis by the nursing supervisor on duty.

Any visitor showing signs of infectious disease, such as a bad cough, will be asked to leave and given a mask to wear on their way out of the hospital.

"We are taking reasonable measures to protect patients, which is our number one priority," Flynn said.

All UMMC healthcare workers have been getting on-site H1N1 vaccinations, which were mandatory. That requirement was lifted, except for those with direct patient contact, which are innoculated first.

The H1N1 virus has been declared a national pandemic. As with other flu viruses, a person can be infected and contagious for 24 hours before showing any symptoms, which can hamper control efforts.

This strain, first identified in spring (not typically the flu season) is considered unusual because children are among the hardest hit.

Flynn said the hospital has seen an increase in the number of young flu sufferers. Some local peditricians are reportedly "swamped" with flu cases and some schools are grappling with absenteeism due to the flu or fear of catching it.

"Most cases are dealt with at home," Flynn said. "People treat it just like they would any flu. But because so much media attention is being paid to (H1N1), sometimes they tend to think the sky is falling. That's not necessarily true."

But do wash your hands frequently.

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