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June 7, 2021 - 2:17pm
posted by Press Release in Gov. Andrew Cuomo, news, COVID-19, schools, masks.

Press release:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today, June 7, announced that school districts can choose to lift the requirement that their students must wear masks outdoors. Guidance on mask use indoors remains in place.

This change aligns New York State's guidance on schools with CDC guidance on summer camps, where even unvaccinated students are not currently required to wear masks outdoors.

"The numbers show that the risk of transmission by children is extremely low, especially in this state, which has an extremely low positivity rate," Governor Cuomo said. "We spoke with the CDC, and since they're not going to change their guidance for several weeks in New York State, we're going to modify the CDC guidance and allow schools to choose no mask outside for children.

"We'll leave that up to the local school district and we spoke to the CDC, which has no objection. It's very important that people understand the logic between these decisions and that they're rational and based on the science and the data. We have a disconnect right now between the school guidance and the camp guidance, and it's important to rectify it because if people don't think the rules are logical, then they're not going to want to follow the rules."

On May 24, Governor Cuomo announced that based on the current COVID-19 trajectory, all New York State schools will reopen for full in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year beginning in September.


Also today, Governor Cuomo announced that when New York State reaches 70 percent vaccinated, he will remove COVID restrictions and guidance (except for certain settings such as healthcare, congregate settings, schools and mass transit). 

April 22, 2021 - 2:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Rochester Regional Health, COVID-19, news, notify, masks.

It's Earth Day 2021, the first one we've commemorated while under a mask mandate because of the coronavirus pandemic, so maybe we should talk about what mass mask wearing means for the environment?

A lot, it turns out, according to Mike Waller, Rochester Regional Health’s director of Sustainability, who spoke with reporters this morning about keeping masks away from animals and using masks that do less to deplete natural resources, such as reusable masks.

"I have three kids, and I want to say we probably have like a hundred different reusable masks at this point," Waller said. "They are really not that expensive any longer. But if you are using a disposable mask, there are ones made with more environmentally friendly materials made such as hemp and other natural fibers. If you do dispose of them, there really is no good way to recycle them because they are made from multiple materials. And so disposing of them in the regular trash, as you would any other items, is the best way to go."

It's not feasible financially for recycling companies to break down masks into their component parts so they can be processed into materials to make new products. But if disposables aren't disposed of properly, they're not only an eyesore on our city streets, they become a problem for wildlife. Potentially, a deadly one.

"A lot of turtles like them when they end up in the waterways," Waller said. "I read that mold and algae grow really easily on these masks. When that happens, it just looks like there's a green floating piece of algae. Fish and turtles think it's food and then they'll swallow the whole mask."

"Make sure they go in the trash," he said. "That's definitely the number one thing to do."

Reusable masks can, of course, be used dozens of times (washed between uses) and maybe hundreds of times before they need to go to a landfill. That will cut down on swallowing up the earth's resources to make masks.

While Waller isn't an epidemiologist and can't predict the course of the pandemic, he expects, as a personal opinion, that mask wearing will be with us for a good long time yet.

"I always thought it would take quite a few years," Waller said. "I think of my three kids in school and some of the folks in the school the district, they share, they predict we'll have masks through next year as well in the school. I think that that would probably make sense as well. I hope like everybody else, it's no longer than that.

"But, you know, I notice with my kids, I think it's very interesting, they don't -- my youngest is 3 -- and they don't really care about wearing masks at all. It's really not a big deal to them. And they do a great job of keeping them on. It's usually the adults that have all the issues."

October 30, 2020 - 5:23pm

Press release:

With the recent increase in positive cases of COVID-19 and reports of various events occurring it is important to remember there are still restrictions in place due to COVID-19. The State has set in place orders on the importance of physical and social distancing to limit the spread of this novel coronavirus that impacts people differently.

In some situations distancing is not being followed and has led to the spread of COVID-19. Through contact tracing and investigating cases it has been made apparent social distancing guidelines were not followed. Recently a wedding, with more than 100 people in attendance, impacted at least nine counties across the state. This event has led to no less than 30 people testing positive so far, between guests and other secondary contacts from one event.

With Halloween and Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) this weekend, it is important to remember to minimize exposure through keeping with smaller gatherings and social distancing. The more people a person is in contact with and for longer periods of time the greater the risk of being exposed to and transmitting COVID-19.

If you are sick, experiencing COVID-19 or flu symptoms, are in isolation or quarantine, do NOT participate in any holiday activities until you are cleared and symptom free. Limiting social contact is challenging for many people but there are still ways to be in contact without being in their physical presence. Consider having your "gatherings" over social media platforms. You can still connect and have fun in the safety and comfort of your own home.

If you do choose to participate in various activities, make sure they are outdoors and you have no more than 50 people total in attendance. Everyone is recommended to wear face masks/coverings to minimize exposure.

In order to move forward safely it is important to follow the restrictions placed by the state. If our COVID-19 positive cases increase the Governor may tighten the restrictions if our counties become a micro-cluster.

With more holidays approaching as well as dealing with the flu and COVID-19 it is more important than ever to be diligent in our safety efforts. We appreciate your cooperation.

September 10, 2020 - 12:24pm
posted by Press Release in COVID-19, news, batavia, corfu, Le Roy, masks, hand sanitizer.

Submitted photo and press release:

On Saturday, Sept. 12, members of the City of Batavia Fire Department, volunteer Corfu Rescue Hook and Ladder Company #1, and the Le Roy Fire Department will be participating in a mask and hand-sanitizer distribution for residents of Genesee County in response to New York State Department of Health Guidelines.

The FREE distribution of washable, cloth masks and hand sanitizer will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. at:

  • City of Batavia Fire Station – 18 Evans St., Batavia
  • Corfu Fire Station – 116 E. Main St., Corfu
  • Le Roy Fire Station – 4 Clay St., Le Roy

Genesee County Office of Emergency Management reminds everyone to WEAR A MASK. Protect your community. Stop the spread of coronavirus. Be respectful.

May 21, 2020 - 1:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in masks, COVID-19, news, UMMC, video, live stream.
Video Sponsor

Interview with UMMC infection preventionist Tricia Woodward about wearing masks.

April 15, 2020 - 5:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in COVID-19, masks, news.

These are the people who have contacted us to say they are available to make masks for their fellow Genesee County residents. We haven't asked what, if anything, they're charging.  

If you are available to sew cloth masks for other people and would like to be listed, email [email protected]Here is a link to the CDC guidelines (pdf).

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