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March 29, 2020 - 3:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, wolcott street school, news, video.

The folks at Wolcott Street School made this morale-boosting video.

March 28, 2020 - 1:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Note Your Worth Music Therapy, video, live stream, business.
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We're talking with Sarah Hinze, owner of Note Your Worth Music Therapy. We've offered free live stream interviews to local business owners and this is part of that series.

March 27, 2020 - 3:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, news, notify, live stream, video, coronavirus.
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Scheduled for 4 p.m.: Genesee County's COVID-19 Briefing for March 27, 2020

UPDATE: Paul Pettit, health director, just announced there are now seven positive cases in Genesee County, which means in the past 24 hours, there are three additional people who have tested positive for COVID-19. Three people are hospitalized. Yesterday, there were two.

UPDATE: Here's the written briefing from the Department of Health.

New Cases

  • As of 2 p.m. today:
    • Genesee County received three new positive cases of COVID-19 for a total of seven positive cases;
    • One over the age of 65 residing in central Genesee County;
    • One over the age of 65 residing in central Genesee County;
    • One person under the age of 65 residing in Western Genesee County;
    • Currently three of the seven positive cases under mandatory isolation are in the hospital;
    • None of the new positive cases were under precautionary or mandatory quarantine when they became symptomatic; and are not believed to be connected.
  • For Orleans: No new positive cases have been reported today.
  • Contact tracing has been initiated for all the new cases. Known contacts have already been placed under mandatory quarantine and will be swabbed if indicated (if symptoms becomes present). If a person is identified as a contact, they will be notified by the County Health Department, quarantined and if warranted, swabbed if indicated. Limited information is provided to the public in compliance with HIPAA regulations and out of the respect of those impacted by this virus. When, and if, there is a situation where potential contact is made in a public location where contact tracing doesn’t have actual names we will send out a media announcement to help seek contacts.

Cumulative Data

  • To Date:Genesee County has received 75 negative test results and Orleans County has received 74 negative test results for COVID-19. These negative tests give us a good indicator of what’s going on in our community. As discussed before, Flu continues to be prevalent with eight in Orleans and 22 in Genesee for the week ending 3/14. This data continues to show a high number of respiratory illness in our counties is not COVID-19
  • Orleans County: Six people are under precautionary quarantine, eight people are under mandatory quarantine, and four people are under mandatory isolation, one of whom is hospitalized and three are recovering at home (one out of county).
  • Genesee County: 17 people are under precautionary quarantine, 34 people are under mandatory quarantine, and four people are recovering under mandatory isolation at home and three people are under mandatory isolation and are hospitalized.
  • Healthcare providers are advising patients undergoing swabbing that are symptomatic (based on availability and screening for high-risk) for COVID-19 to self-isolate until test results are received and COVID-19 is ruled out. Follow your healthcare provider’s advice.
  • Currently, NYS clearance protocol for discontinuation of mandatory isolation for persons with confirmed COVID-19 is the following: it has been at least seven days since the initial positive test for COVID-19, at least three days without fever and no use of fever-reducing medication, improvement in the signs and symptoms of the illness and two negative swabs at least 24 hours apart. Swabbing through the Health Departments is warranted as part of our quarantine/isolation protocol for those who become symptomatic.We are not providing community testing at this time. We will be announcing further information on this as local capacity increases.
  • Please remain home if ill, with all of the directives regarding social distancing that are still be in place, especially if a person has a negative COVID-19 result it is important to limit physical contact. Flu and COVID-19 are still transmittable and people should continue to remain home and limiting contact with others. Do not be afraid of people because they may be coughing or sneezing, they may have allergies, but continue to keep your distance (at least 6 feet).
  • Respect / Social Responsibility / Fear mongering / Consequences – A reminder Genesee and Orleans Counties are small counties where just about everyone "knows your name," with that in mind the Health Departments are mandated to adhere to HIPAA regulations, therefore, we are not releasing potential identifying information of anyone who is under our care.
    • If during contact tracing there is an issue of missing potential contacts we will provide locations. Not everyone who coughs or sneezes has a respiratory virus. People need to be respectful of the process and the guidance surrounding social distancing. COVID-19 is now community transmissible, therefore people need to take social distancing seriously.
    • There are consequences for not adhering to the directives. Noncompliance may prolong the spread of COVID-19 as well as increasing the spread which can overwhelm our healthcare systems.
    • Sticking to the basics, limiting exposure to the public, frequent handwashing, staying home if ill with any respiratory illness, keeping 6 feet distance from other people and sharing creative ideas to keep in touch with family and friends are what we need. 
    • Talking about who has or hasn’t been tested, is sick or sharing rumors about anything COVID-19 is increasing anxiety in many people. Be respectful and stay home as much as possible. It is safe to go outside or for a ride, but be mindful to keep at least 6’ distance between other people.


  • Community Spread: Locations of positive cases are not indicative (telling) of where potential exposures can occur. It is not vital to know locations as the virus is considered to be everywhere. That is why we encourage everyone to continue with social distancing, frequent handwashing, proper cough/sneeze hygiene and frequent disinfecting of frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Medical Concerns: If you feel you may have COVID-19, call your primary care provider or healthcare facility ahead of time. DO NOT GO DIRECTLY THERE, CALL AHEAD TO GET GUIDANCE. Swabbing will be based on those who are in higher-risk categories – elderly and immune-compromised and those with underlying health issues.
    • Swab sample results are coming back slower than expected. With more testing, we expect this will continue. Whenever anyone is swabbed for potential COVID-19, self-isolation is advised until the test result is received.
  • Snowbirds are returning to our counties: They may have returned from areas not hit as hard as New York, may have been exposed while out of state, and/or are members of the higher-risk population (over 65 / underlying health issues) we encourage you to self-isolate and monitor your health. 
    • If you become symptomatic, call your healthcare provider for guidance.
    • Some may be concerned about exposure when going for supplies and prescription refills – many stores and pharmacies are providing special hours for seniors and people with underlying healthcare issues. There are also several stores/restaurants that provide curbside pick-up and delivery services call ahead and ask.
    • Check-in with family and friends and your social networks via phone or electronic means often to limit loneliness.
  • Toilet Paper: A reminder that flushing non-traditional toilet paper, such as tissues, paper towels, baby wipes and more will more than likely cause plumbing issues. On-site septic systems and public sewers are not built to handle these types of materials and will cause problems. If you are using nontraditional products as toilet paper, they are to be thrown in the trash receptacles.


  • At this time there are no FDA-approved drugs or treatments for COVID-19.
  • There are also no over-the-counter COVID-19 tests. If you get an email, phone call, offer by mail or other solicitation for these scams, hang up and ignore them.
  • This is a very important warning to reinforce for every County resident.
  • The best medical advice for you comes from your healthcare provider.


  • Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today at his 11:30 a.m. press conference there are 16,272 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 44,635 positive cases in New York State.
  • 6,481 (15 percent) COVID-19 patients are hospitalized.
  • In today’s Governor’s briefing, he stated schools are to remain closed for another two weeks and will be reassessed then. Locally our schools are monitoring the local impact and making decisions on a week-by-week basis as to when schools will reopen. Continue to follow your local school guidance.
March 27, 2020 - 10:56am
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This morning we're talking with Tom Christensen, executive director Mental Health Association of Genesee and Orleans.

Our apologies to anybody who tried to watch this live. The live feed didn't go through to YouTube for some reason. But we did record the call so here is the full video of the interview.

Tom Christensen mentioned some helpful phone numbers during the conversation. Here are the numbers:

  • MHA in Niagara County Peer Information Line: 716-433-5432 (8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday – Friday)
  • MHA of Genesee & Orleans Counties WarmLine: 585-813-0072 (5 – 8:30 p.m. daily, including weekends)
  • Crisis TextLine: text MHA to 741-741 (24/7)
  • GCASA Peer Recovery Advocates: 585-815-1800 (24/7)
  • Genesee/Orleans Care and Crisis HelpLine: 585-283-5200 (24/7)
March 26, 2020 - 4:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, coronavirus, covid-19, news, live stream, video.
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We're talking with Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

March 26, 2020 - 2:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, history, news, video, batavia, coronavirus.
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We're talking with Genesee County Historian Michael Eula about the 1918 global flu pandemic, better known as the "Spanish Flu" and its impact on Batavia.

We had technical difficulties -- we're going to try again.

March 26, 2020 - 10:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCASA, news, video, live stram, covid-19, coronavirus.
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We're talking with John Bennett, executive director of GCASA.

March 26, 2020 - 10:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Stafford, news, video.
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On Tuesday, the Town of Stafford officially kicked off its bicentennial celebration year with a small ceremony.

March 25, 2020 - 4:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Arc of Genesee Orleans, news, covid-19, coronavirus, video, live stream.
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We're talking with Donna Saskowski, executive director of Arc of Genesee Orleans.

March 25, 2020 - 10:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in John's Studio, live stream, video, news.
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To help locally owned businesses get through this, we're offering, upon request, free live interviews with small business owners. This morning, we're talking with Mike Hodgins, owner of John's Studio. Local business owners who wish to participate, email [email protected]

March 24, 2020 - 2:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in rob thompson, news, video, death penalty cases, genesee county.
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Author Rob Thompson has made his book "Swinging in the Rain," about death penalty cases in Genesee County available to readers of The Batavian as a free PDF download. The video is from November when we interviewed Rob about the book.

March 21, 2020 - 2:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in st. ann's community, news, video, live stream, Le Roy, covid-19, coronavirus.
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At about 3 p.m., we're talking with Jennifer Blackchief, VP Housing, St. Ann's Community in Le Roy.  We're going to talk about St. Ann's providing their employees with a generous bonus as well as what they're doing to keep their residents safe.

March 21, 2020 - 11:39am
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At about noon, we'll be talking with Tom Turnbull, president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

March 20, 2020 - 10:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in coronavirus, news, video, live stream, covid-19.
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The Genesee County public health briefing for March 20, 2020.

Key points:

  • There are now 16 people in Genesee County under mandatory quarantine (one more than yesterday). There is still only one confirmed case in Genesee County, a patient who remains in isolation.
  • Of those in mandatory quarantine in both Genesee and Orleans counties, 39 percent are symptomatic. Being symptomatic is not necessarily a sign of COVID-19. It could be the flu or another respiratory illness. The health department is still awaiting results of swabs of those patients.
  • Private providers continue to perform COVID-19 tests on patients who are symptomatic but it can take up to five days to get results back. While those patients have not received a written order from the public health director, Paul Pettit, to quarantine, they are under doctor's orders to quarantine and they should follow those directions. "This is very important because once you’ve been tested, we don’t want people walking around our communities who have been tested for COVID-19," Pettit said. "Regardless of whether it’s COVID-19 or influenza or something else, we want you home if you’re symptomatic."
  • Pettit reiterated that anybody of any age can get COVID-19 and while the vast majority of people under age 54 who contract the disease have mild symptoms, it can still lead to hospitalization for people of any age, and even death. “We want to remind people that just because you feel invincible, you feel strong, you can’t get sick, you still can," Pettit said.
  • There is still a shortage of test kits locally.
  • The flu is still prevalent in the region. Genesee County currently has 32 confirmed cases (as of March 7) and 532 cases for the season. Odds are right now, if you're symptomatic, you don't have COVID-19, you have the flu. The same protocol of social isolation applies as much for people with the flu to help prevent spread. "It's not too late (in the season) to get vaccinated," Pettit said. And if you haven't, you should.
  • Dan Ireland, CEO of UMMC, said as a precautionary measure the hospital will start erecting tents. The community shouldn't read too much into this. There are still plenty of beds available in the hospital.

EDITOR'S NOTE: With this update, moving this post back to the top of the home page.

March 20, 2020 - 8:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in the batavian sessions, music, arts, enternainment, live stream, video, news.
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Paul Draper and I are talking about doing a special live edition of The Batavian Sessions featuring several local musicians. We haven't picked a date yet but tonight we recorded a test-run for your entertainment. Watch The Batavian for more information about the upcoming live, online concert, which will also be a fundraiser for a local charity.

March 20, 2020 - 2:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in coronavirus, news, video, covid-19, live stream.
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We have an interview scheduled for 3 p.m. with Matt Gray, owner of Alex's Place and Eli Fish Brewing Co.

UPDATE: A couple of people wanted more information about the small business loans Matt and I discuss in the interview.  Here's a link to the Forbes article that is the source of the information.

March 20, 2020 - 2:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in coronavirus, news, video, live stream, covid-19.
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We're talking with Genesee County Sheriff William Sheron.

March 20, 2020 - 1:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in live stream, video, news, bank of castile, covid-19, coronavirus.
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We're going to talk with John McKenna, CEO, and president of Tompkins Bank of Castile about programs available to assist small businesses and homeowners.

March 19, 2020 - 5:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, video, live stream, batavia, Batavia PD.
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Shortly, we will be live in an interview with Shawn Heubusch, Batavia's chief of police.

March 19, 2020 - 3:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, video, live stream.
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This is a recording of today's press briefing. Key points:

  • There is still just one test-positive case of COVID-19 in Genesee County.  
  • There are now 15 people under mandatory quarantine (10 yesterday).  Some of those people are symptomatic. None of the test results are back yet for the people who are symptomatic. The five additional people in quarantine are as a result of the ongoing case tracing by health department staff to identify people who were in contact with the positive case.
  • There is a person from Orleans County who tested positive. That person was not symptomatic when that person traveled to another state on vacation. That person became symptomatic while on vacation. That person, who is at least 60 years old, is now in quarantine in that state. The health department is working to find out who that person might have had contact with before leaving on vacation.
  • The ability to test is still limited and that is frustrating, said Paul Pettit, director of public health.
  • People can get tested by their doctors. Providers also get test kits through their health care networks but those kits are also in limited supply.  Doctors are putting people into quarantine but the health department would only be notified of a positive test result so the health department does not have a count on people who might be in quarantine on a doctor's orders.
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