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Rochester Regional Health

April 8, 2021 - 4:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in allergies, Rochester Regional Health, news.

allergyseason2021.jpg

Allergy season is upon us and for those who annually get sniffles and sneezes it's time to be prepared, said Dr. Peter Capucilli, an allergist with Rochester Regional Health, during a call with reporters on Wednesday.

"The first thing is just making sure that your prescriptions are up to date, that you have refills on the medications that you know will help you," Capucilli said. "I usually like to tell my patients that starting right after Valentine's Day, that's a really good marker of when to say, OK, now is the time to get prepared and start having those medications available just because we know allergy season can hit really hard and quickly when the trees start to drop all their pollen."

There are predictions that this could be a severe allergy season given the weather patterns of the winter and early spring and the general trend of global warming and Capucilli said those predictions have a strong possibility of coming true.

"We very well could see a higher pollen count this season," he said.

While people with severe allergies need to wear masks while doing things like mowing the lawn, Capucilli said don't expect those face coverings you've been wearing to slow the spread of COVID-19 to do much to protect you from pollen, which doesn't know anything about social distancing and is therefore always around all of us.

"I anticipate that overall the allergens will make their way into affecting us," he said. "I do feel like we'll still have a significant allergy season. We are already starting to see the beginnings of that now as we're getting into early April."

It's important, Capucilli said, for people to distinguish between the symptoms of COVID-19 and allergies. 

"Symptoms that are usually specific to allergy are things like itchy nose, sneezing, and certainly you can have those symptoms with COVID," Capucilli said. "I would say if you're having any of those things, and especially if you haven't been an allergic individual previously, it's probably better to be thorough and get tested to speak to your doctor if you have concerns that you're having new symptoms.

"The other symptoms that would probably tip you off in terms of being a bit more worried about COVID versus allergies are actually feeling sick. So generally, for patients who have allergies, the symptoms can be quite invasive but you don't feel like you necessarily are sick with a cold or that you're under the weather. Fevers would also be very atypical of allergy. You should not be getting fevers with allergies."

If you have any doubts, suggests Capucilli, you should get tested for COVID-19.

For those with allergies, it's fine to seek out the help of a specialist even if over-the-counter medications help your symptoms. You don't need serious symptoms to consult with a doctor. In some cases, Capucilli said, the best treatment might come in the form of a shot.

"The goal of that therapy is to actually make you less allergic," Capucilli said. "So some patients may be well controlled on over-the-counter therapies like antihistamines or the nasal sprays, which we prefer using often. The benefit of the allergy shots is that over time we desensitize you. We essentially reprogram the immune system to become tolerant of these allergens with a lasting effect."

April 6, 2021 - 2:32pm

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An expert in pediatric infectious diseases with Rochester Regional Health is encouraging all young people, 16 years and older, to get vaccinated for COVID-19 but in Genesee County, for 16- and 17-year-olds, getting vaccinated is going to be more difficult.

Of the three vaccines being administered around the state and the nation are from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. Only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for 16- and 17-year-olds.

There are no clinics for the Pfizer vaccine planned for Genesee County, which means 16- and 17-year-olds looking to get vaccinated will need to travel Rochester or Buffalo to get the shot in the arm -- twice.

"We are encouraging the 16 and 17-year-olds to sign up for the state-run vaccine sites that provide the Pfizer vaccine which can vaccinate those who are 16 and older," said Nola Goodrich-Kresse, public information officer for the Genesee County Health Department.

There are several state-run clinics in our region, Goodrich-Kresse said.  Individuals aged 16 and 17 can check the state site for vaccine locations and check to make sure they are for the Pfizer vaccine.

"Currently, we do not know when or if Pfizer will be provided again locally," Goodrich-Kresse said.

Dr. Cynthia Christy, associate chief of pediatrics for Rochester General Hospital, who spoke to regional media yesterday to encourage young people to get vaccinated, acknowledged that COVID-19 poses little health risk to most young people but said people age 16 and older should consider what it could mean for people around them if they became contagious.

"I would imagine that teenagers do have the sense that nothing is going to impact them and that if they got it, they would be fine," Christy said. "So I think the angle for them is, well, what about your family? What about your grandparents? You probably would be fine if you got it, but this way will prevent you from impacting anyone you love."

For young people, who have been consistently less susceptible to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, the Pfizer vaccine is believed to be 100-percent effective, Christy said, and the side effects are minimal (slightly sore harm, possible low-grade fever).  

"As I said before," Christy said, "tell them 'let's bring this pandemic to an end, let's keep me from getting an infection, and let's keep my family and friends safe.' "

Photo: Dr. Cynthia Christy during video conference with regional media.

April 2, 2021 - 12:10pm
posted by Press Release in Rochester Regional Health, UMMC, news, visitation, covid-19.

Press release:

Effective Monday, April 5, visitation at Rochester General Hospital, Unity Hospital, Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic, Newark-Wayne Community Hospital, and United Memorial Medical Center will expand to allow a maximum of two visitors per patient per day for up to four hours each at the bedside. Due to social distancing concerns because of COVID-19, only one visitor will be permitted at a time.

Visitors will be required to check in after being screened at the door.

Other changes to the policy include: 

  • Pediatrics (permits two support persons together)
    • Each patient may have two support persons 24/7;
  • Labor and Delivery (permits two support persons together)
    • Each patient may have two support persons 24/7;
  • Patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (permits two persons together)
    • Each patient may have one support person 24/7 and one visitor for a maximum of four hours per day during scheduled visiting hours.

Visitation hours: 

  • Rochester General Hospital: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 4 – 8 p.m.
  • Unity Hospital: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 4 – 8 p.m.
  • Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic:  12 – 8 p.m.
  • Newark-Wayne Community Hospital: Monday – Friday: 1 – 5 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • United Memorial Medical Center: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 3 – 6 p.m. 

Visitation is still prohibited for Emergency Department patients, COVID-19 positive patients, patients awaiting COVID-19 test results, cancer infusion centers, and inpatient behavioral health (chemical dependency and mental health).

For more information, please visit our website at www.rochesterregional.org.

March 23, 2021 - 1:47pm

From Rochester Regional Health

As the availability of the COVID-19 vaccines expands and distribution improves throughout our community, we’re getting closer to more people than ever before having their opportunity to get vaccinated.

Rochester Regional Health has opened a community COVID-19 vaccination site at our Riedman Administrative Campus, with appointments available for eligible New York State residents. It is located at 1455 East Ridge Road in Rochester.

In this week’s newsletter, our experts help to bust common myths and concerns about getting vaccinated for COVID-19, including concerns about the impact on fertility. And, based on recent guidance from the CDC, we’ve updated our recommendations for getting together with family and friends safely once you’re vaccinated.

One important thing to keep in mind as cases of COVID-19 continue to decrease is the importance of keeping your regular doctor appointments and screenings. Whether in person, through video, or phone — preventative screenings, essential care, and treatment for chronic conditions and new concerns is safe and accessible.

February 23, 2021 - 1:43pm
posted by Press Release in news, covid-19, Rochester Regional Health, immunization.

From Rochester Regional Health Care:

As eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccinations expands to more members of our community, New York State has shifted the delivery of vaccine allocations from health care systems to state and county mass vaccination sites, pharmacies and to facilities for groups like veterans and those with developmental disabilities.

Because of this shift, Rochester Regional Health is no longer routinely scheduling additional first dose COVID-19 vaccination appointments for non-healthcare workers. We will fulfill all first- and second-dose appointments that are already scheduled. 

We know many in our community are eager to get vaccinated as quickly as possible and know that this has been a frustrating process. Thank you for your patience and persistence.

We recommend continually checking the Finger Lakes Vaccination Hub for the latest on eligibility for and availability of COVID-19 vaccination appointments in our region.

February 16, 2021 - 4:57pm
posted by Press Release in covid-19, news, Rochester Regional Health, vaccination.

From Rochester Regional Health:

As cases of COVID-19 are trending downward in our community, Rochester Regional Health is welcoming visitors back to our hospitals seven days a week.

It is because our community and teams continue to follow safety guidelines that we’ve seen a decrease in infections. Please continue to wear your mask, practice hand hygiene and stay socially distanced wherever possible.

It’s also important to get vaccinated when a vaccine is available to you, although current supplies are limited.

Here’s information on how we’re scheduling vaccination appointments for eligible patients, including those with chronic conditions. We also recommend checking the Finger Lakes Vaccination Hub to confirm your eligibility and view vaccination appointments throughout our region.

Looking for COVID-19 testing? Wait times at our Immediate Care locations are now updated live online.

February 12, 2021 - 4:30pm
posted by Press Release in news, UMMC, Rochester Regional Health, visitation, covid-19, batavia.

Press release:

Rochester Regional Health and the University of Rochester Medical Center announced plans to resume restricted hospital visitation. Rochester Regional Health will begin visitation on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at its five hospitals while URMC will start visitation the day before. 

Visiting Hours

  • Rochester General Hospital:  Daily from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 4 to 7 p.m.
  • Unity Hospital: Daily from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., and 4 to 7 p.m.
  • Clifton Springs Hospital: Daily from 1 to 5 p.m.
  • Newark-Wayne Community Hospital: Monday – Friday from 1 to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • United Memorial Medical Center: Daily 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 3 to 6 p.m.

Visitation Guidelines

Patients may designate two visitors throughout the patient’s stay;

  • Only ONE visitor is allowed at a time at the bedside for no more than four hours daily.
  • Visitors must be 19 years of age or older. 
  • *No visitors will be permitted for:
    • Emergency Department patients
    • COVID-19 positive patients
    • Patients awaiting COVID-19 test results
    • Cancer patient infusion centers  
    • Inpatient behavioral health (chemical dependency and mental health)
  • In addition to a designated visitor, the following groups may designate a support person who is not restricted by visitation hours.  
    • Pediatric patientsOne support person may be present on-site at a time in the emergency room or during hospitalization. For pediatric patients, especially with prolonged hospitalizations, the patient or family/caregiver may designate two support people; but only one support person may be present at a time. 
    • Labor & Delivery: May have one support person and a doula to be present at the bedside upon admission, throughout labor, delivery, and the postpartum period including recovery until discharge to home. 
    • Once delivery has occurred, an additional visitor may be designated by the patient and must comply with the visitor policy outlined above.
    • Patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD), and cognitive impairments including dementia: One support person may be present on-site at a time in the emergency room or during hospitalization. The patient or family/caregiver may designate two support people, but only one support person may be present at a time.
    • End-of-Life Situations: The patient and/or family/caregiver may designate two visitors at a time at the bedside as long as social distancing is maintained. Minor age visitors must be accompanied by an adult. Clergy members visiting at end of life are counted as one of the two visitors at the bedside. End-of-life determinations are made in coordination with the patient, family/legal guardian, and treatment team. Visitation for end-of-life situations is not restricted by COVID-19 status or hours. All infection control guidelines and instructions must be followed.
February 9, 2021 - 1:36pm

Press release:

In compliance with a new 2021 federal law (pdf) that took effect Jan. 1, Rochester Regional Health has posted a master list of charges and contract rates on its website for provided items and services.

The law requires each hospital operating in the United States to provide clear, accessible pricing information online about the items and services they provide in two ways:

  1. As a comprehensive machine-readable file with all items and services.
  2. In a display of shoppable services in a consumer-friendly format.

This information will make it easier for consumers to shop and compare prices across hospitals and estimate the cost of care before going to the hospital.

To make this list more accessible to patients, the health system has developed a new easy-to-use tool to foster price transparency.

The new patient estimates self-service tool provides real-time estimates for patients that details their out-of-pocket responsibility.

To access the RRH tool, click here.

January 26, 2021 - 3:44pm
posted by Press Release in Rochester Regional Health, news, vaccinations, covid-19.

Press release:

Rochester Regional Health continues to vaccinate as many people as possible with the approved COVID-19 vaccines to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in our region. We have vaccinated more than 15,000 members of our vast workforce and nearly 3,500 eligible patients in essential categories.

Help our community slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing your mask, practicing hand hygiene, staying socially distant, and avoiding gatherings.

This week’s Health Hive stories discuss what you can do once you're vaccinated, what to expect at your vaccination appointment, and how they’re being scheduled, what our experts know about the new coronavirus strain, insight into why adults over 65 years of age are the first community members to be eligible for vaccinations, and guidance on when kids may start getting vaccinated.

Looking for COVID-19 testing? Wait times at our Immediate Care locations are now updated live online.

January 5, 2021 - 10:22pm

Understanding the importance of traffic flow -- especially along a busy Route 98 north of the Thruway exit, engineers will be putting their heads together to devise the best plan for vehicles to enter and exit the four-story medical office building being proposed by Rochester Regional Health.

Town of Batavia Engineer Steve Mountain, speaking after tonight’s Batavia Town Planning Board meeting, said there is “a little more work to do” to correctly mitigate any potential traffic issues and to ensure the traffic pattern is designed to accommodate future growth.

“We’re in the reviewing phase and acting upon a few comments from the (New York State) Department of Transportation,” Mountain said, adding that the project will include the installation of a traffic signal on Route 98, connecting Call Parkway with Federal Drive.

He also emphasized that anything done for this project must allow for the possibility of the construction of another traffic lane along Route 98.

Thus, the planning board signed off on a State Environmental Quality Review (a negative declaration) and approved the site plan contingent upon final approval by town engineers and the clearing up of any mitigating factors.

“This keeps the project moving forward while we set up meetings with the developer’s engineers and DOT officials,” Mountain said.

RRH plans to construct an 140,000-square-foot medical office facility at 8103 Oak Orchard Road (Route 98), a plan already recommended for approval by the Genesee County Planning Board.

Additionally, the Town Zoning Board of Appeals approved an area variance related to the building height.

United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia is part of the RRH system, which has similar multi-specialty buildings in the Rochester area and also in Geneva.

RRH has contracted with the CPL (Clark Patterson Lee) engineering firm of Rochester. CPL engineers previously reported that 90,000 square feet will be allotted for office space and that 360 parking spaces will be available – with 63 of them in a first-floor parking garage.

UMMC President Daniel Ireland has said that RRH will disclose information about the specific services as the project progresses.

December 15, 2020 - 10:25pm

Residents on both sides of the fence concerning a plan to place two community solar projects on land owned by Donald Partridge at 5117 Ellicott Sreet Road will have to wait a bit longer to express their views in front of the Town of Batavia Planning Board.

Planning Board Chair Kathy Jasinski said several Ellicott Street Road residents – including some who spoke out at the Genesee County Planning Board meeting last week -- were ready to voice their opinions again at tonight’s meeting via Zoom videoconferencing.

Planners are considering a proposal to place a 5-megawatt solar farm on 18.2 acres of a 65-acre parcel and a 4-megawatt system on 19.6 acres of a 71-acre parcel of farmland off Route 63, southeast of the city.

“A lot of people were on the Zoom call but I told them they were not allowed to talk tonight, but will definitely have their chance at the public hearings next month,” Jasinski said.

The public hearings for the referrals, called Trousdale Solar I and Trousdale Solar II, are scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 19.

Partridge, a planning board member, has indicated that he would abstain from any voting on the project, which is being developed by Cypress Creek Renewables LLC.

Jasinski, when asked if she thought putting two nearly 20-acre solar arrays next to each other went against the town’s zoning limitation of 20 acres, said that she sees them as two separate entities as they are 50 feet apart and have separate power connections.

“The only thing they share is an access drive,” Jasinski said, “so I really believe they are two different projects.”

At the county planning meeting, Nancy Brach of 5168 Ellicott Street Road contended that two side-by-side solar farms, at almost 40 acres, went against the parameters of the zoning regulation.

In other action, town planners:

  • Put an application from LandPro to build a storage and maintenance facility at 4554 W. Saile Drive on hold while it reaches out to other agencies who may be interested in seeking lead agency status for the State Environmental Quality Review.

Jasinski said the town planning board wants to be the lead agency, but the scope of the project requires a coordinated review, possibly including the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Transportation, and Department of Agriculture and Markets.

“I will write to them to see if they want to be involved in this process,” Jasinski said, adding that the board pushed the site plan review back to its Jan. 19 meeting.

  • Will be seeking lead agency status for Rochester Regional Health’s plan to build a four-story, 140,000-square-foot medical office building at 8103 Oak Orchard Road (Route 98).

Jasinski said a public hearing for this referral is unnecessary since a special use permit is not required on property zoned Commercial.

She said the board will put this on the agenda of its Jan. 5 meeting, while the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals will consider an area variance due to the building height on Jan. 21.

December 11, 2020 - 7:22pm

An Ellicott Street Road resident on Thursday night was advised to contact Town of Batavia council members over her objections to proposed side-by-side community solar projects on the property of a neighboring farmer that she said circumvented the town’s zoning regulations.

Speaking at the Genesee County Planning Board meeting via Zoom videoconferencing, Nancy Brach, of 5168 Ellicott Street Road, questioned the panel and Planning Director Felipe Oltramari about the validity of two (approximately) 20-acre solar arrays next to each other on land owned by Donald Partridge at 5117 Ellicott Street Road.

Brach expressed her views in the midst of a 40-minute discussion over the special use permit and area variance referrals to place a 5-megawatt solar farm on 18.2 acres of a 65-acre parcel and a 4-megawatt system on 19.6 acres of a 71-acre parcel. The projects, named Trousdale Solar I and Trousdale Solar II, are being developed for Partridge by Cypress Creek Renewables LLC.

“I understood that there was a 20-acre limit, is that correct?” Brach asked. After Oltramari answered yes, Brach said, “So, we’re putting together two 20-acre parcels, is that correct?”

Oltramari replied that “technically, there are two solar farms; they are side by side, but there are two of them.”

She proceeded to ask if they were owned by the same person and, again, Oltramari responded in the affirmative – the same landowner and the same solar company.

“So, my question is, if there is a 20-acre limit and you allow people to put parcel after parcel together, effectively, you could have 1,000 acres,” she said. “How do we prevent that? This is making a piece of property that doubles the amount of the minimum and yet we’re going ahead with it. What would keep us from having 100 acres, 200 acres, if you just let people split the property in name only?”

Acknowledging that Brach had a “valid point,” Oltramari noted that some municipalities don’t have any size limitations and some have larger than 20 acres, but 20 acres seems to be the minimum, and added that the Town of Batavia was one of the first localities to adopt a solar law.

He then said that New York State provides incentives for these types of solar projects that generate around 5 megawatts of power, before adding that a similar two-in-one type project – earmarked for a more isolated area in the Town of Pembroke – was on the evening’s referral list for a special use permit.

Undeterred, Brach, who was one of three Ellicott Street Road residents who voiced their opposition during the meeting, reiterated, “How to we protect (the 20-acre limitation) because it seems to go against how the law was designed?”

Oltramari then suggested a zoning change or at least a change in the wording would have to come from town officials, and said residents would need to petition their town board before that could happen.

Brach, who hosted a neighborhood meeting with Partridge at her home in June 2019 to convey their concerns, said the ambiguity of the zoning is what has people upset about “having a solar project put in their backyard.”

“If you say 20 acres, then two 20-acre parcels are not 20 acres, it’s 40 acres and it opens up the opportunity for 60 or 80 or 100 acres, and that’s just not honest,” she said.

Planning Board Member Jill Gould then explained that this panel makes recommendations based on whether the applications adhere to town zoning laws, and re-emphasized that complaints by Brach and others should be directed to the Town of Batavia.

Timothy Morrow and Kathy Antonelli, also of Ellicott Street Road, spoke prior to Brach.

Morrow said he wanted to know what chemicals were in the solar panels as he feared that harmful agents could seep into a large aquifer in that area and affect homeowners’ wells.

Jerry Leone, of Rochester, representing Cypress Creek Renewables LLC, said that he would provide Morrow with the findings of the environmental studies already conducted. Later on, it was indicated that the overwhelming majority of solar panels in New York are based on silicon technology (quartz or sand).

Antonelli said the solar arrays will be place “behind my house and diagonally from my property” and asked if the project would decrease the property values in the area.

“And why so close to our homes, with all of the farmland in this area?” she asked. “I don’t want to sit on my back deck and look at a solar farm.”

At the end of the debate, planners approved both solar projects by a 6-1 vote with Robert Houseknecht casting the “no” vote. The measure now goes back to the Batavia Town Planning Board, which is meeting next Tuesday, and one of the projects will also be considered by the Town Zoning Board of Appeals since an area variance is needed because the frontage is less than the minimum requirement.

Recommended modifications include obtaining a stormwater pollution prevention plan and relocating a part of the driveway and equipment pad from the middle of the array to the edge of the field or on existing laneways.

In other action, planners approved:

  • With modifications (stormwater pollution prevention plan and archaeological study), a site plan review for a LandPro sales, storage and maintenance facility at 4554 W. Saile Drive in the Town of Batavia. LandPro is a major dealer of John Deere tractors and equipment.
  • With modifications (see above), a site plan review and area variance for Rochester Regional Health’s four-story, 140,000-square-foot medical office building at 8103 Oak Orchard Road (Route 98), near Call Parkway, in the Town of Batavia. The project will include the installation of a traffic signal on Route 98, connecting Call Parkway with Federal Drive.
  • A special use permit referral from Solar Liberty Energy Systems Inc. of Buffalo for solar farms generating 5.3 megawatts and 6.6 megawatts at 7984 Tesnow Road in the Town of Pembroke. The property is owned by Kreher Brothers LLC of Clarence.
  • A site plan review to relocate Precious Paws to an existing commercial building at 10571 Main St., Alexander. The applicant, Alicia Brenkus, will be converting a former pizza shop to her dog grooming business.
December 9, 2020 - 9:48am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, LandPro, Rochester Regional Health, Trousdale Solar.

Genesee County Planning Board members are in for a busy night on Thursday as 14 project referrals are on their monthly meeting agenda.

The meeting will take place via Zoom videoconferencing at 7 o’clock.

Four of the referrals -- including a site plan review for a new state-of-the-art LandPro sales, storage and maintenance facility in the Town of Batavia -- are coming to the board following initial action taken by the Town of Batavia Planning Board last week.

LandPro, dealer of John Deere tractors and equipment, is lined up to build what Paul Williams, operations manager/north, says will be the company’s “main hub for technology” at 4554 W. Saile Drive – on a 14-acre parcel just east of Vantage Equipment at the corner of Call Parkway.

“This will be a full-servicing John Deere dealership and that will include agriculture as we know it, turf, all turf products and a limited, what we call a compact construction equipment (facility),” said Williams, who is in charge of half of LandPro’s 20 stores in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. “Additionally, it will be our main hub for technology – our integrated solutions as we call it – GPS (Global Positioning System) and all of the fancy technology that is in our equipment.”

Williams said technology has made its way to the forefront over the past 15 to 20 years.

“It continues to grow and continues to be an extremely critical piece of our business,” he said. “The machines are now talking to us, they’re talking to John Deere at the factory and we’re getting early warning signs of failures so we can be on site before things fail.”

He said the tractors, by utilizing GPS, have the capability to be within an inch of accuracy as they drive down the rows of corn, for example.

“The technology is very, very high at this point, and it continues to grow. That’s why this facility will not only be state-of-the art and our largest shop, but it will also house our high-technology product division,” he said, adding that LandPro is partnering with Stihl and Honda products for handheld supplies and generators.

When asked if the new location would replace the John Deere stores in Oakfield and Alexander, Williams said that “eventually, they probably will (close) but we want to make sure that we can still serve the capacity of the customers in that geography … before we close those locations.”

“So, we’ve got a little bit of work to do – but that is the long-term plan,” he said.

Williams said that 60 to 65 employees will work out of the new building, which is expected to be completed in the spring or summer of 2022, with current workers in Oakfield and Alexander relocating to West Saile Drive.

He didn’t disclose the amount of investment into the facility, which shows 13,000 square feet for retail sales, 5,000 square feet for parts storage and 28,000 square feet for maintenance, but without question, it is a multimillion dollar venture.

LandPro will seek tax credits through the Genesee County Economic Development Center and grants through National Grid, Williams said.

Other highlights of Thursday’s Genesee County Planning Board meeting:

  • A site plan review and area variance for a four-story, 140,000-square-foot medical office building proposed by Rochester Regional Health at 8103 Oak Orchard Road (Route 98), near Call Parkway, in the Town of Batavia. The facility will have 90,000 square feet for office space and 63 of its 360 parking spaces in a lower-level parking garage.
  • Special use permits and an area variance for a pair of solar projects named Trousdale Solar I and Trousdale Solar II at 5117 Ellicott Street Road, Batavia. The first phase is a 5-megawatt array covering 18 acres of a 65-acre parcel while the second phase is a 4-megawatt system covering 19.6 acres on a 71-acre parcel. Pending recommendation of approval (with modifications) from county planners, it will go to a public hearing conducted by the Town of Batavia Planning Board.
  • A special use permit for two ground mounted commercial solar systems, one generating 5.3 megawatts and the other generating 6.6 megawatts, at 7984 Tesnow Road in the Town of Pembroke. The applicant, Solar Liberty Energy Systems, Inc., of Buffalo, wishes to place the solar array on property owned by Kreher Brothers LLC of Clarence.
  • A site plan review to change the use from professional office space and art studio to a medical office for acupuncture and physical therapy at 10 Lake St. (Route 19) in the Village of Bergen. Documents submitted by applicants David and Anna Marie Barclay reveal a plan to use about half of the building’s lower level for their clinic, which will have four employees.
  • A site plan review to relocate Precious Paws to an existing commercial building at 10571 Main St., Alexander. Plans submitted by the applicant, Alicia Brenkus, call for slight modifications to convert a former pizza shop to the owner/operated dog grooming business.

Previously: Rochester Regional Health plans to build four-story medical office building in the Town of Batavia

December 6, 2020 - 1:58pm

ROCHESTER – A vascular surgeon at Rochester General Hospital has announced the hospital is one of 10 locations chosen nationwide to introduce a new option of treatment for patients who suffer from iliofemoral venous outflow obstruction, commonly known as venous obstruction.

In a Zoom conference Thursday, Dr. Ryan Lydon said he was the first in the Northeast to use the Medtronic Abre venous self-expanding stent system.

“As of the end of last week, I was the number-one implanter in the United States,” Dr. Lydon said. “One of the most exciting aspects of this is that after more than 10 years of research and development, the largest medical device company in the nation chose Rochester General Hospital to be one of their launch sites.”

This self-expanding stent (inset photo right) allows doctors to perform a treatment they’ve been unable to offer in the past. Dr. Lydon said this procedure is relatively new in the past five years.

Previously, he said doctors were limited in the number of patients they’ve been able to help, due to the lack of a product which offers the flexibility of this stent. This new stent will allow doctors to treat younger patients than they could in the past.

He explained the venous system drains blood from all parts of the body and returns it to the heart. When an obstruction occurs a patient can become increasingly disabled. Dr. Lydon explained all the veins in the leg drain into the area between the groin and the belly button.

A patient, often a younger person, can develop an obstruction in a vein or a compression can occur on the outside for various reasons. He said the self-expanding stent can help these patients return to a normal life. 

“We have been waiting for a product that will stand up to the stress of a younger, more active, individual,” the doctor said. 

Medtronic estimates 24 million people are affected by deep venous obstruction, with less than 1 percent of that population receiving treatment.

“Being chosen as one of the first 10 locations in the country with this newly approved FDA product provides us with a new option of treatment for patients with this disease,” Dr. Lydon said.

He said in the past a patient may have one leg three to four times larger than the other, yet doctors have been unable to come up with an answer to the cause.

“Now, in 2020, we have the ability to increase or dramatically improve their quality of life,” the doctor said. “Up until now, doctors didn’t feel comfortable putting a stent in a 30-year old.”

He said the data and clinical trials on the self-expanding stent to this point have been very encouraging. The biggest concern was for stent migration or stent fracture, and with this new product they have seen 0-percent migration and 0-percent fracture.

Dr. Lydon said he was not so excited for himself, but for Rochester General Hospital.

“Historically new products have only been released to university institutions and the fact they chose Rochester General Hospital shows the quality of care we are delivering,” Dr. Lydon said. “People are coming from farther and farther away to seek treatment at our facility. This shows the level of care being offered at Rochester Regional Health.”

Top photo: Dr. Ryan Lydon, left, and Medtronic representative Jason Fishkin.

December 1, 2020 - 9:41pm

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Rochester Regional Health is looking to extend its reach in Genesee County through the construction of a four-story, 140,000-square-foot office building at 8103 Oak Orchard Road (Route 98), across the road from Federal Drive and near Call Parkway, in the Town of Batavia.

"This campus is the latest step in Rochester Regional Health’s plan to expand access to care," said Dan Ireland, president of United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia, which is part of the RRH system. "Over the past few years, we have opened similar multi-specialty campuses in Irondequoit, Henrietta, Webster/Penfield, and Geneva, with another campus scheduled to open in Geneseo.” 

Ireland took part in the Town of Batavia Planning Board's Zoom videoconference meeting tonight.

The project was introduced to planners by Andrew Kosa, principal associate with Clark Patterson Lee engineering firm in Rochester.

Kosa said that 90,000 square feet will be allotted for office space and that 360 parking spaces will be available – with 63 of them in a first-floor parking garage.

The applicant will need approval of its site plan along with an area variance related to the height of the building and a negative declaration on a State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) to proceed with the project.

Kosa was joined on the call by Michael Owen, vice president, Healthcare Construction for RRH; Michelle Trott of CPL principal for the project, and Thomas Bock, civil engineer and lead engineer for the site plan.

“We’ve completed a traffic study … showing mitigation for the turn lanes out of the entrance driveway, and also made submission to the New York State Department of Transportation on Nov. 12 to get its preliminary review of the plan and traffic study,” Kosa added.

Town planners voted to seek lead agency for the SEQR, and advised that the project will have to be referred to the Genesee County Planning Board for its recommendation and then to the Town Zoning Board of Appeals (for the area variance).

Town Engineer Steve Mountain mentioned that this is a tax-exempt project that offers much in the way of economic benefit to the municipality.

“Through the SEQR process we have looked at the economic impacts and the best cost benefits … and there are a lot of benefits to the project,” he said.

Ireland said it is a prime opportunity for RRH to create additional space for medical purposes.

“There’s a substantial need for that in our community, and really to consolidate some of the medical specialty practices as well as grow medical specialties in the community that don’t exist today,” he said. "(This is) bringing services under one area and easily accessible to the surrounding region, which will draw patients into the area as well as bringing needed providers into the area."

Ireland added that RHH will provide information about the specific services as the project progresses.

Solar Project Moves Forward

Town planners also approved seeking lead agency status for a SEQR on a two-phase community solar project on property owned by Don Partridge at 5117 Ellicott Street Road.

Partridge, a member of the planning board, recused himself on all matters connected to the venture, which is proceeding as Trousdale Solar I and Trousdale Solar II.

The first phase is a 5-megawatt array covering 20 acres of a 65-acre parcel while the second phase is a 4-megawatt system covering 20 acres on a 71-acre parcel, said Jerry Leone of Rochester, representing Cypress Creek Renewables LLC, project developer.

Leone said that area residents will be able to purchase electricity as a result of the system at a better price than what they get through National Grid.

“They don’t have to be connected to it physically – it would be delivered to you through National Grid in a similar way that you purchase electricity now, and that electricity would be offered at a discount from what you currently pay,” he advised.

He said that the National Grid service along the road is capable of handling the project, a bifacial system that generates power on both the front and back of the solar panels.

“The panels will be no higher than 12 feet once installed … and there are no wetlands and some tree removal,” Leone said. “We’re not seeking any variances and have followed appropriate setbacks as required.”

Leone also offered that his company has a partnership with the Genesee County Economic Development Center and a partnership with Cornell University for pollinator species – “plantings and grass that are friendly to bees and the like.”

Planners will need to schedule a public hearing on the application, likely several weeks away, after it goes before the Genesee County Planning Board on Dec. 10.

LandPro to Construct Facility

Andrew Schmieder of Alexander, project designer, reported the intention of LandPro – a John Deere sales and service company – to build a sales, storage and maintenance facility at 4554 W. Saile Drive, near the Volvo Rents equipment building.

He said the LandPro has committed to 13,000 square feet of retail sales area, 5,000 square feet for parts storage, and a 28,000 square feet to perform maintenance.

“They primarily will be servicing turf and agricultural equipment,” he said, adding that he doesn’t anticipate a lot of traffic coming in and out of the area.

The applicant is seeking approval of its site plan, which also will be reviewed by county planners on Dec. 10.

Project Manager David Ciurzynski of Attica said LandPro will be seeking tax abatements from the GCEDC. Paul Williams of Baldwinsville, operations manager for LandPro, also was on the Zoom call.

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Architect renderings courtesy of Genesee County Planning Department. Top photos, two views of Rochester Regional Health building; bottom photo, LandPro building. 

November 12, 2020 - 10:08am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, UMMC Healthy Living, Rochester Regional Health.

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Being a “numbers person,” when some key figures indicating the status of his health didn’t add up, Chris Ace sprang into action.

In August, the 49-year-old Batavian was losing weight and was extremely thirsty. Although he hadn’t paid a visit to the doctor’s office in about eight years, he felt he needed to call his primary physician – Dr. Suwarna Naik – and find out what was going on.

“I wanted to do whatever I had to do immediately to correct the problem,” said Ace, a process engineer at Chapin International Inc. “The way I was eating, I had no business losing weight and although it was in the summer, I was really, really thirsty – drinking a ton of water.”

Ace said he did some research online and figured his symptoms were related to either diabetes or a thyroid problem, leaning more toward the former. When his blood sugar count was determined to be 476 and his A1C level came in at 12.1 (Glycated Hemoglobin Test), he knew things had gone haywire.

The very next day, Ace found himself taking part in a one-to-one consultation with Amy Miller, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator for United Memorial Medical Center's Health Living department.

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“A normal blood sugar reading, according to the American Diabetes Association, is 80 to 130 – that’s fasting, before meals,” Miller said, “and the A1C ranges are 4 to 5.6, normal; 5.7 to 6.4, pre-diabetes, and 6.5 or more, diagnosis of diabetes.”

Without question, Ace’s numbers were in the danger zone, with the readings combining to put his average blood sugar level for three months at 300.

Ace’s condition – Type 2 diabetes -- was not a result of being extremely overweight; it was more about the amount of carbohydrates that he was consuming on a regular basis.

“I ate two good meals a day, breakfast -- usually fruit and yogurt -- and a salad for lunch, but I went off the rails at night, figuring that since I ate healthy meals during the day, I would be OK,” he said. “My wife, Lisa, and I would go out for ice cream and, since she is such a great baker, I was eating a lot of sweets. And I love chocolate.”

He said that learning about the disease from Miller and attending three of the department’s Living Healthy With Diabetes classes in September have made all the difference in the world as he now has his blood sugar in check and his A1C down to 5.6.

"I thought that I wouldn't like sitting through two-and-a-half-hour classes, but it went by just like that," he said. "I learned so much from Amy."

In fact, Ace could be considered a “poster child” for diabetes awareness through his motivation, record-keeping and diligence, Miller said.

Fittingly, November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, an annual event to inform the public of the risk factors, symptoms, types of diabetes and steps that can be taken to keep things under control.

As it stands, more than 30 million people in the United States have some form of diabetes and one in four don’t realize they have it.

“Chris came in with materials from his primary care physician and a list of questions during our first meeting, and he was very motivated,” Miller said. “The numbers really work for him. After showing him the numbers, he latched onto those numbers and went with it. He executed what needed to be done and implemented those changes.”

Miller and Jill Pickard, a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator, teach the Living Healthy with Diabetes course, a four-part ADA-accredited* series that covers facts about the disease, testing, carb counting and medications/complications.

The classes are scheduled on Thursdays at various times each month at the Healthy Living office at 164 Washington Ave. Most insurance plans cover the sessions, Miller noted.

Ace said he learned that the “biggest component is knowing how to eat.”

“Anytime I heard the word diabetes, I thought of sugar, sugar, sugar,” he said. “You can eat sugar. It’s all about counting the carbs. That’s the way to control my blood sugar.”

Miller said there is no such thing as a “diabetic diet.”

“We use the meal planning method – carb counting,” she said. “There is no right or wrong way. It’s about balancing the diet with adequate nutrition, including all of the food groups, with special attention to carbohydrate intake. It’s important to eliminate excess sugary foods like candy bars and sweets, and make healthy food choices.”

Miller said she uses the BMI (Body Mass Index) chart to determine a person’s target weight, based on his or her height.

Both Ace and Miller see his story as a cautionary tale to others with diabetes or experiencing similar symptoms.

“Chris’s story is very empowering for others,” Miller said. “Diabetes doesn’t take a break. It’s a constant and it can really wear on people, and can cause depression.”

Ace’s advice is to the point: “People should go to the doctor. Don’t put it off like I did.”

In fact, Ace, who is utilizing a special app to count his daily carbs, has become an unofficial spokesperson for Healthy Living.

“When I told a coworker about my diabetes and what I am doing now, he said, ‘You’re always eating a healthy lunch, and you have it?’ ”

Soon after, that coworker had made an appointment to see his doctor.

*ADA: American Diabetes Assocation.

-------------

For more information about UMMC’s Healthy Living department and the Living Healthy With Diabetes program, call (585) 344-5331.

Photo: Amy Miller and Chris Ace outside the UMMC Healthy Living office. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

November 9, 2020 - 12:33pm

News that a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine developed by Pfizer is 90-percent effective represents "light at the end of the tunnel," according to two doctors involved in vaccine trials at Rochester Regional Health. But there are many difficulties ahead before this or any other vaccine can be widely distributed they cautioned.

Participating in a virtual press conference this morning with reporters from throughout the region were Dr. Ed Walsh and Dr. Ann Falsey. Walsh is the leader of the study at RGH and head of Infectious Diseases at RRH and Falsey is an infectious disease specialist at RRH and URMC codirector of Vaccines Trial Unit.

UMMC in Batavia is part of the RRH network of hospitals and care providers.

Pfizer announced early-stage trial results this morning. The company has not been part of the Warp Speed initiative by the Federal government to develop and distribute a vaccine for COVID-19, nor has it received government grants for the development of a vaccine, according to a spokesperson for Pfizer.

"We need to be cautious but I think it's actually a reason for optimism that the vaccines will work," Dr. Falsey said. "And I guess what I would say to the public is, you know, maybe this is the light at the end of the tunnel, and it's even more reason to wear your masks and do social distancing because I worry that fatigue sets in -- pandemic fatigue. 'It's hopeless. We're never going to get out of this.' And people develop a sort of fatalistic attitude. But I think vaccines are on the horizon. It's going to take a little while yet. But I think this is very encouraging news. I was very happy to hear it."

A story by the medical news website Stat News suggests the early results provided by Pfizer are robust, but also notes there has been no peer-review and Pfizer hasn't released a paper, known as a pre-print, with more scientific analysis. 

There is a lot we don't know about the vaccine, Walsh and Falsey acknowledged, including how long it will confer immunity to the disease since today's news is based on only two months of data.

Pfizer's trial is based study of people who received the vaccine in which 94 people contracted the disease. Pfizer did not reveal how many of those 94 people received the vaccine or a placebo (neither the participants nor the doctors administering it would have any way of knowing which injection they received in a double-blind study). 

"The expectation (of the public) should be that this is an interim report, and I think we all saw this on the news as well,the current guideline for safety analysis requires a longer period of time following the receipt of the second dose of the vaccine in order to feel comfortable with safety," Walsh said. "This is just two months of safety data, which is a good thing, but a final report, obviously, and assessment will be made both on safety and efficacy as they go along."

So far, only minor side effects, such as aches and a fever, have been reported from the vaccine. 

Typically it takes 12 to 18 months to bring a vaccine to market but given the high fatality rate of COVID-19 and the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to spread rapidly in some circumstances, along with the dire economic consequences of the pandemic, scientists and government officials are moving quickly to find an effective and safe vaccine.

Walsh suggested that by the time the vaccine is ready for distribution -- if it ever is -- and at the earliest date distribution might start, meaning perhaps January, we will have greater confidence in its safety, especially balanced against the risk of the novel coronavirus.

"You're really weighing a risk-benefit issue," Walsh said. "We're looking at a pandemic that is potentially going to result in, if left unchecked, hundreds of thousands of more deaths in the U.S. and certainly millions worldwide. And so you try to make your best judgment as to what kind of side effects might you be missing in an early decision to deploy a vaccine. If it's been four months or five months, that's an encompassing period of time when you're generally going to see almost all of the side effects that might come from a vaccine and this type or of any type."

We're now in a period of increasing infection rates, hospitalizations, and deaths but the Pfizer results seem to have come from a period when there was a low prevalence of the disease and it's still possible SARS-CoV-2 doesn't spread as easily in warmer weather. Asked if that might skew the results of Pfizer's study Walsh said he hadn't yet thought of that question and would need some time to think about it.

If the vaccine is approved for the wider public, distribution will be a challenge.

The Pfizer vaccine must be administered in two doses three weeks apart. 

It also must be stored at -112 Fahrenheit. That makes production distribution a challenge, but it also means that the vaccine can only be stored and administered from locations that a freezer capable of maintaining such a frigid temperature. That means neither your local doctor nor the pharmacy is going to be able to provide the vaccine.

A spokeswoman for RRH said it's way too early to know if UMMC is a potential distribution location. If it isn't, people in Genesee County seeking the vaccine will likely need to visit a hospital in Rochester or Buffalo.

It will take time to ramp up production of the vaccine -- though Pfizer has reportedly already started production -- and distribution will take time, so the people eligible to receive the vaccine will be prioritized in tiers with front-line healthcare workers at the front of the line followed by elderly, vulnerable people.

There's no guarantee the Pfizer vaccine will make the grade in its next phase trials but there are at least 11 other promising vaccines in development. Walsh said that's a good thing whether Pfizers proves ultimately effective or not because if there are more successful vaccines that will help supply and distribution.

The 90-percent efficacy rate for the Pfizer vaccine, if it holds up, is exceptional, Walsh said. Not all vaccines are as effective. He noted the measle vaccine is the most effective viral vaccine with an effective rate of 96 percent.

While there is much to learn yet about SARS-Cov-2 and how to vaccinate against it, both Walsh and Falsey struck upbeat notes about vaccines in general and the ability to find a vaccine to fight COVID-19.

The history of vaccines has been generally, and not universally but generally, extraordinarily successful," Walsh said. "The benefit of the vaccines that have been released over the years, over the many, many years of vaccines and going back to the 1950s, is the benefit has far outweighed any risks. I think there is that history to rely on though it is no guarantee, of course. But I think this is important, too, to recognize it and education will be important (to acceptance of the vaccine)."

Falsey added, "A lot of the vaccine hesitancy in recent years has been because vaccines have been so successful that they have nearly eradicated the terrible diseases. And so people don't understand the true impact of some of these infections and they start fixating on potential threats from a vaccine. I think with this pandemic, we can look around and see friends and family members who have been devastated.

"And so everything is risk-benefit. In addition to educating people about misinformation and the true side effects of vaccines, we can also ask them to think about risk-benefit ratios and that with 100,000 cases a day and a thousand deaths each day in the U.S., there's a significant risk to not getting vaccinated. So choosing to not accept the vaccine or not do anything is a decision, and that also carries significant risk."

November 2, 2020 - 1:31pm

Press release:

Rochester Regional Health opened three COVID-19 collection sites as an extension of RRH (and Greater Rochester Independent Practice Association (GRIPA)) primary care practices to ensure patients who are suspected of having COVID-19 are properly tested while limiting exposure to other patients and staff.

These trailers are NOT open to everyone, nor are they drive-through sites.

Patients must have a lab testing order from their provider, which means they must have been evaluated by their provider via either telemedicine or an in-office visit before coming to our sites. Patients will be billed for testing, but not charged for the trailer visit. 

Locations

  • Wilson Immediate Care parking lot on the Rochester General Hospital (1425 Portland Ave. Rochester, NY 14621) campus (Monroe County)
  • Geneva Medical Campus (Ontario County) - 875 Pre-Emption Road, Geneva, NY 14456
  • Jerome Center (Genesee County) – 16 Bank St., Batavia

HoursMonday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

November 1, 2020 - 12:30pm

A local pediatrician is expressing his concern regarding the upcoming flu season and some parents’ decision not to have their children vaccinated.

Dr. Khurrum Sanaullah joined Rochester Regional Health in April and is affiliated with United Memorial Medical Center and Orleans Community Health, offering pediatric services at Batavia Pediatrics and Medina Family Medicine.

Last week Dr. Sanaullah gave a Zoom videoconference on his concern about a recent poll which found that one out of three parents do not plan to have their child vaccinated for the flu. Furthermore, the poll revealed that only one out of three parents believe it is more important for their child to get the flu vaccine this year, compared to past years.

The two major contributing reasons revealed in the study indicate parents are keeping their kids away from health care sites during COVID-19; and parents are concerned due to misinformation about side effects and the effectiveness of the flu vaccine.

Dr. Sanaullah states it is even more important this year for children to get a flu shot because of the coronavirus pandemic. He adds, the best time to have the flu shot is now.

He said the flu vaccine does not cause any serious side effects, and it is much better to get sick from the vaccine than from the flu itself. 

“Your symptoms will be much milder,” he said. “The medical profession has never showed that the flu vaccine causes serious side effects.”

The doctor also said symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 are very similar – chills, fever, body aches, cough, headache, vomiting and diarrhea, and if a person developed both, it could be a big problem.

“It’s a very smart idea to get your children vaccinated,” the doctor said. 

He said all children between the ages of 6 months and 21 years should have the flu vaccine. The vaccine can be administered at a local pharmacy, although many pharmacies won’t vaccinate a child under 6.

Dr. Sanaullah said the flu season is typically from September through April and the earlier the flu vaccine is administered, the better. But it is never too late. 

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