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2 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Orleans County

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 April 2020 at 8:15 pm

There are two new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Orleans County, and one new case in Genesee, the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments is reporting this evening.

That brings the number of confirmed cases to 11 in Orleans, and 21 in Genesee County.

The Health Department doesn’t have more information to release publicly today on the ages and locations of the people who tested positive for the virus.

Those details will be provided on Monday. The Health Department has initiated contact tracing, reaching out to people who have been in close contact with the people who tested positive. Close contacts will be put in precautionary quarantine for up to two weeks to see if they develop any symptoms for Covid-19.

The 32 cases in the two counties are among 113,704 cases in the state. New York State this morning reported 10,841 new cases in Covid-19 since Friday, the biggest one-day increase in cases since the first case was confirmed a month ago.

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Health Department has new map tracking Covid-19 data in G-O counties

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 April 2020 at 6:47 pm

This map shows Orleans on top, and Genesee below. The western section of Orleans includes the towns of Shelby, Ridgeway (Medina) and Yates (Lyndonville); Carlton, Gaines, Albion and Barre in the central section; and Kendall, Murray (Holley) and Clarendon on the eastern side. In Genesee County, the western end includes Alabama, Pembroke and Darien; the central section is Oakfield, Elba, Batavia, Alexander and Bethany; the eastern side includes Byron, Bergen, Stafford, Le Roy and Pavilion.

The Genesee and Orleans County Public Health Departments has a new online map that clearly tracks the confirmed cases of coronavirus in the two counties. (Click here)

The map shows the two counties and breaks the cases in three sections for each county: western, central and eastern. If there are many more cases, the Health Department may additionally break out which town the person resides in who has tested positive for Covid-19.

Right now, everyone should assume the virus is spreading in the community and is everywhere, said Paul Pettit, Public Health director for the two counties.

The map shows 9 cases in Orleans – 1 in the western part, 7 in central Orleans, and 1 on the eastern end. In Genesee, there are now 21 cases with 4 in the western section of the county, 6 in central Genesee, and 11 on the eastern end.

The case tracker online shows combined data for the two counties, and reports confirmed cases, 30; active cases, 27 (there have been 2 recoveries and 1 death from the virus).

The trackers also lists total tests administered at 381, total negative results at 351, people currently in precautionary quarantine at 16, people currently in mandatory quarantine at 51 and people currently in mandatory isolation at 27.

Pettit in an online news conference today strongly urged the community to practice social distancing. Staying six feet apart is one of the best weapons in preventing the spread of the virus. He urged frequent hand washing, wiping down common surfaces and staying home as much as possible especially if you’re feeling sick.

The Genesee and Orleans Health Departments today issued the following information: 

Operational Updates

• Be on the lookout for “GO Health Minutes.” These short video clips will feature different guests within the health departments as well as legislative members, businesses, organizations and some of our neighbors to highlight important information pertaining to COVID-19.

We will frequently be releasing new videos so be sure you are subscribed to our GO Health NY YouTube channel and check our websites and our social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Social distancing must be practiced in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. This means canceling events such as parties, celebrations, and neighborhood gatherings where people congregate together.

This also means that children and adults should not play contact sports. These are temporary requests that will help stop the spread of the virus so that we can resume normal activities.

If you must go to the store, always maintain at least 6 feet of space between you and other people and wash hands frequently. Stores are not to be utilized as a social event.  It is important people limit their trips to the store, choose a designated shopper and if at all possible leave the children home.  Keep a 6 foot distance between other shoppers.

Take out/food trucks are not a gathering place. Keep 6 feet of space between other customers.

Stay Home

• Please remain home if ill, even if a person has a negative COVID-19 result it is important to continue to limit physical contact.  Flu and COVID-19 are still transmittable and people should continue to remain home and limiting contact with others.

• If you work with a vulnerable population, self-monitor prior to going to work, if you become sick while at work, contact your supervisor immediately and leave the premises to decrease the risk of contact with others. When not working, follow social distancing and limit time in public.

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 – some are over a week or more. 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 back.

Scam Alert

• Older Adults: Be alert for scams, including government grant scams. What to look for: Do not accept unsolicited phone calls or e-mails from someone claiming to be an official from the Federal Grants Administration, which does not exist, or a nonprofit organization like the National Residential Improvement Association offering grands or funding for repairs.

• Don’t click on social media messages or posts from people excited to share thousands of dollars, free grants, etc.

• The scammers may try using utility companies to access your information. Contact the utility using the number you have on your monthly bill not what the potential scammers have given you.

• Let calls you don’t recognize go to voice mail, most scams won’t leave a message, however, don’t return unsolicited calls. Write down the number and check online or have someone check for you to make sure it is legitimate. If you are unsure, or if it sounds too good to be true, ignore it and talk with a family member, the Office for the Aging, the Better Business Bureau or your local police.

Helpline

• Anxiety, Depression, Fear: If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, fear about this outbreak call the Care + Crisis Helpline at 585-283-5200, text 741741 or call the NYS COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 884-863-9314. They have trained listeners available 24/7 to help you through this.

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Health Department leader says removal of ventilators by state would put Orleans, Genesee ‘in a very precarious situation’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 April 2020 at 5:24 pm

Gov. Cuomo’s executive order to take excess ventilators from hospitals upstate is deeply concerning to Paul Pettit, the Public Health director for Orleans and Genesee counties.

Paul Pettit

The two counties don’t have very many ventilators among their hospitals, only 13 with two at Medina Memorial Hospital and 11 at United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia.

Pettit said the local Covid-19 cases are rising, with 21 in Genesee and 9 in Orleans. He expects the numbers to continue to go up.

Covid-19 can cause a serious respiratory infection for some people that contract the virus, and they may need a ventilator to stay alive.

“This could put us in a very precarious situation,” Pettit said about the governor’s executive order. “This is very concerning to myself.”

The governor’s order also extended to each hospital’s supply of personal protective equipment – the N-95 respirators, gowns and face shields. Pettit said the local providers are going through the PPE at a fast rate each day.

“The last thing we want to do is not have enough when our peak comes,” Pettit said about PPE and ventilators. “I don’t want our communities to be in a precarious position.”

The governor said he would give a hospital back their ventilators and PPE if they face higher demand. The downstate hospital systems are facing the brunt of the cases right now in the state.

Cuomo sees the apex hitting downstate and then moving across the state. He would then redeploy the ventilators.

In his executive order, he said he will send the National Guard to get the equipment.

Pettit said the local hospitals and Health Department are pushing back through local state legislators.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, issued this statement:

“I am absolutely dumbfounded at the steps the governor has taken today to leave upstate New York as vulnerable as downstate has been during this health crisis,” Hawley said. “Not only will upstate hospitals now be left with fewer ventilators for our citizens who need them, but an increase in transport of coronavirus cases to upstate almost certainly means the virus will spread even quicker in our districts. It’s the worst possible management of this crisis I have seen thus far, and I am asking the governor to rescind his Executive Order. Upstate and Western New York lives matter.”

State Assemblyman Michael Norris, R-Lockport, issued this statement: “The Governor’s Executive Order to take ventilators and health care equipment from our WNY hospitals puts our community and health care professionals at great risk. Once they leave our region there is no guarantee they will ever come back. The lack of testing for WNY makes this action an even greater concern, as we don’t have the full scope or handle of how far this virus has spread within our community. The Governor has mentioned a ‘rolling apex’ however we do not know when the apex for Western New York will be. The citizens of Western New York are rightfully concerned and the Governor needs to reconsider his executive order.”

State says it would redistribute 20% of unused ventilators

The Governor’s Office late this afternoon issued this statement from Rich Azzopardi, a senior advisor to Gov. Cuomo:

“In addressing the coronavirus pandemic, it is essential that we all work together. While the pandemic is primarily in downstate New York now – it is projected to peak and reduce in downstate and the increase in upstate. It is essential that we all help each other and the Governor is asking upstate hospitals to loan 20 percent of their unused ventilators to struggling downstate hospitals.

“Ventilators literally save lives. They will be returned or reimbursed to those hospitals. Moreover, when the pandemic wave hits upstate New York, the Governor will ask downstate hospitals for similar help. We are not upstate or downstate we are one state and we act that way.”

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3 new Covid-19 cases confirmed in Orleans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 April 2020 at 4:53 pm

‘No town is exempt from this. It is widespread in our community.’ – Paul Pettit, Public Health director

Orleans County has three new confirmed cases of Covid-19, bringing the county’s total to nine, Public Health Director Paul Pettit said this afternoon.

The new confirmed cases are all in the central part of the county, with one person under age 65 and two over 65.

One of the persons is under isolation at a hospital, while two are in isolation at their homes, Pettit said.

None of the new cases were previously under mandatory or precautionary quarantine.

Genesee County also has four new cases, for 21 total, Pettit said.

One of the people is under 65 in the central part of Genesee, while the other three are under 65 in the eastern part of Genesee.

In Genesee, all four were previously under mandatory quarantine and now are under mandatory isolation.

“No town is exempt from this,” Pettit said. “It is widespread in our community.”

Orleans Hub will have more information posted soon.

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Genesee has 1 new case of Covid-19 for 17 total

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 April 2020 at 4:26 pm

Orleans remains at 6 cases, with 122 testing negative for coronavirus

The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments are reporting one new case of Covid-19 in Genesee County, for 17 total. Orleans County has no new confirmed cases and remains at 6.

The person with the new confirmed case in Genesee is under age 65 and resides in the central part of the county, the Health Department reported.

The new positive case was not under precautionary or mandatory quarantine when they became symptomatic.

The Health Department is doing contact tracing for all new cases where known contacts are placed under mandatory quarantine and will be swabbed if symptoms become present

“Limited information is provided to the public in compliance with HIPAA regulations and out of the respect of those impacted by this virus.” The Health Department said in a news release.

The following is part of a press release from the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments

Cumulative Data

• In Orleans, there have been 6 confirmed cases of Covid-19, 122 negative tests, 6 people in mandatory isolation after testing positive, 9 in mandatory quarantine and 11 in precautionary quarantine.

• In Genesee County, 17 have tested positive and 197 tests have come back negative. There are also 15 people currently in mandatory isolation, 37 in mandatory quarantine, 11 in precautionary quarantine, 1 death and person who has recovered.

New York State cases/Restrictions/Guidelines

• Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today at his press conference there are now a total of 92,381 confirmed positive cases of Covid-19 in NYS.

• 13,383 (14 percent) of Covid-19 patients are hospitalized.

• The Governor has extended NY PAUSE program (non-essential workers down to 0%) until April 15; this will be evaluated every two weeks

• New Yorkers without health insurance can apply through NY State of Health within 60 days of losing coverage (click here for more information.

• The President and CDC have ordered a travel advisory (NY, NJ & CT) – this is not a lock down, these federal actions support state actions to date. It is OK to be outside in your yard, ride bikes, visit a state park for walks, to take rides in your vehicle. However congregating and taking the family shopping does not comply with social distancing (keeping 6 feet from others, limiting time out in public)

Operational Updates

• Social distancing must be practiced in order to stop the spread of Covid-19. This means canceling events such as parties, celebrations, and neighborhood gatherings where people congregate together. This also means that children and adults should not play contact sports. These are temporary requests that will help stop the spread of the virus so that we can resume normal activities. If you must go to the store, always maintain at least 6 feet of space between you and other people.

• Please remain home if ill, even if a person has a negative Covid-19 result it is important to continue to limit physical contact. Flu and COVID-19 are still transmittable and people should continue to remain home and limiting contact with others. If you work with a vulnerable population, self-monitor prior to going to work, if you become sick while at work, contact your supervisor immediately and leave the premises to decrease the risk of contact with others.  When not working, follow social distancing and limit time in public.

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.

Older adults

The Office for the Aging in both counties continues to operate. They are still providing meals to their residents and are working with their vendors to provide the potential increase in meals to the residents they serve.

For Genesee County: NYConnects / Office for the Aging call 585-343-1611 Monday-Friday 8:30-5:00.

For Orleans County: Older Adults in Orleans County can contact Arc of Genesee Orleans Nutrition Program at 589-5424 weekdays between 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Office for the Aging staff members are coordinating with Meals on Wheels to ensure meal delivery to seniors in need. The staff are keeping their spirits up to stay safe and still deliver smiles with nutrition. There is a suggested donation for meal delivery, but do not let cost get in the way of asking for this help. If you have concerns about not having enough food call NY Connects/Office for the Aging at 589-3191.

Anxiety, Depression, Fear

• If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, fear about this outbreak call the Care + Crisis Helpline at 585-283-5200, text 741741 or call the NYS COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 884-863-9314, they have trained listeners available 24/7 to help you through this.

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Holley village closes playgrounds, but keeps trails open

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 April 2020 at 5:01 pm

HOLLEY – The Village of Holley is keeping its trails open to the community but will immediately be closing the playgrounds, pavilions and park bathrooms, Mayor Brian Sorochty said.

“We recognize that getting outdoors to walk, jog, or ride your bike is a great way to stay healthy and active, and reduce stress,” he posted on the village’s Facebook page. “But this must be done in conformance with the CDC/NYSDOH guidelines regarding social distancing and other measures to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 Coronavirus. The Village of Holley strongly encourages all citizens to follow these guidelines at all times.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and State Department of Health have issued these guidelines to help prevent the spread of colds, flu and COVID-19:

• Stay home if you are sick, or showing or feeling any COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, coughing, and/or troubled breathing;

• Practice social distancing by keeping at least six feet of distance between yourself and others, even when outdoors;

• Avoid close contact, such as shaking hands, hugging, or high-fives;

• Wash hands often or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available; and

• Avoid unnecessary contact with surfaces that are often touched, such as doorknobs and handrails.

“Please remember that we are all in this together and we must all do our part,” Sorochty said. “Be safe and be healthy.”

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Genesee has 3 more confirmed cases of Covid-19 for 16 total, while Orleans stays at 6

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 April 2020 at 4:26 pm

The Orleans and Genesee County Public Health Department has reported that 3 more people have tested positive for coronavirus in Genesee County, bringing the total confirmed cases there to 16.

In Orleans County, there are no new cases, keeping the county’s total at 6.

In Genesee, the three new cases are all people under the age of 65. One lives in the central part of the county, while two others are on the western side of the county, according to the Health Department.

In addition, those new confirmed cases include two people who were under mandatory quarantine. Since they tested positive they are now under mandatory isolation.

Cumulative Data

• Orleans County –  6 confirmed cases, 110 negatives who were tested, 6 in mandatory isolation (after testing positive), 9 in mandatory quarantine, 5 in precautionary quarantine, 0 deaths and 0 recoveries.

• Genesee County – 16 confirmed cases, 161 negatives, 14 in mandatory isolation (after testing positive)m 30 in mandatory quarantine, 11 in precautionary quarantine, 1 death and 1 recovered.

Contact Tracing

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 become present), according to the Health Department.

If a person is identified as a contact, they will be notified by the local Health Department, quarantined and, if warranted, swabbed if indicated.

HIPPA Regulations

“Limited information is provided to the public in compliance with HIPAA regulations and out of the respect of those impacted by this virus,” the Health Department said in a news release. “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.”

Some in the community continue to voice requests about knowing the locations of individuals who have tested positive, those who are being monitored and where they have been in the county so that they may know where to avoid.

“The current situation is that every place is potentially a location that you could catch the virus,” the Health Department stated. “It would be a disservice to our communities to share specific locations that could indicate that there is any area in either county that is unaffected by the threat of COVID-19.  Please stay at home as much as possible, please stay home if you are sick, please encourage others to do the same and please show kindness to others.”

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Orleans, Genesee each report 1 new Covid-19 case

Posted 31 March 2020 at 4:15 pm

Information from Orleans and Genesee County Public Health Departments

There is one new confirmed coronavirus case in both Orleans and Genesee counties, the Public Health Department reported today at 4 p.m.

The new case in Orleans is an individual under age 65 from the central part of the county. Orleans now has six confirmed cases of Covid-19.

Genesee’s latest case is under the age of 65 residing in the central part of the county. Genesee now has 13 confirmed cases.

• None of the new positive cases were under precautionary or mandatory quarantine when they became symptomatic and are not believed to be connected, the Health Department said.

• 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 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,” according to a news release from the Health Department. “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.”

Community Spread

Means you can get it from respiratory droplets from infected people and on any surface as long as the virus is still viable. If you touch a door handle, counter, etc. that has the virus on it, then touch a mucous membrane (nose, mouth, eyes) you can introduce the virus into your body.

Identifying a store or business where people may have been doesn’t help because the virus is everywhere and can give a false sense of security that the virus isn’t somewhere else. Limiting trips to the store and designating only one person for shopping can lower the risk of spreading the virus.

With the rising numbers, it is important to know the social distancing guidance will work but it takes time before we can see the results. The coming weeks are most critical in determining how many lives can be saved in our communities by staying safer at home, social distancing, and having good hand (wash often) and cough (do not cough in your hand, but in a disposable tissue or your elbow) hygiene.

Nature Breaks and Parks

We are getting reports of groups not practicing social distancing. Many parks have roped off areas of their parks to discourage group play (basketball, football, soccer, using shared equipment or frequently touched surfaces such as the playground equipment). This is not a time for playgroups. Parents remind your children they are to keep their distance from non-household members to limit the spread of disease.

State Parks are free with limited services available. They are encouraging New Yorkers to recreate locally, practice social distancing, and use common sense to protect themselves and others. Contact your local park for specific information on any changes to their operations in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

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Niagara County’s 51 confirmed cases of Covid-19 include two 1-year-olds

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 March 2020 at 10:49 am

Niagara County has 51 confirmed cases of Covid-19, including two 1-year-old children.

Daniel Stapleton, Niagara County Public Health Director, shared the update on Monday.

The department has a map (click here) showing the municipalities and the number of cases within the town, city or village borders.

There has been one confirmed case in the eastern Niagara towns by the Orleans border – the towns of Royalton, Hartland and Somerset. (That one case is a Somerset resident).

Niagara’s other cases include 6 in the City of Lockport, 2 in the Town of Porter, 2 in Newfane, 6 in the Town of Lockport, 1 in Cambria, 3 in Pendleton, 8 in City of North Tonawanda, 10 in Wheatfield, 1 in the Town of Niagara, 4 in Town of Lewiston and 12 in the City of Niagara Falls.

Among the 51 COVID-19 positives, 44 are in isolation and 7 have recovered, the Health Department reported.

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Genesee has first death from Covid-19

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 March 2020 at 4:23 pm

Orleans has 1 more confirmed case of coronavirus for 5 total

Genesee County has its first death from the coronavirus, Public Health Director Paul Pettit said this afternoon. The person is over 65 and had been hospitalized for about two weeks and had other health issues.

Pettit said he isn’t going into more detail out of respect for the privacy of the person and family.

Pettit and Shelley Stein, chairwoman of the Genesee County Legislature, both expressed their condolences to the person’s family.

Genesee County also has three more Covid-19 cases, bringing its total to 12, while Orleans has one more case for five total. The latest confirmed case in Orleans is a person over age 65 from the central part of the county.

Quarantine data

• Orleans County: 5 people are under precautionary quarantine, 9 people are under mandatory quarantine, and 5 people are under mandatory isolation 2 of whom are hospitalized and 3 are recovering at home (one out of county).

• Genesee County: 13 people are under precautionary quarantine, 37 people are under mandatory quarantine, and 11 people are recovering under mandatory isolation at home.

Cumulative Data

Genesee County has received 122 negative test results and Orleans County has received 87 negative test results for COVID-19.

These negative tests give a good indicator of what’s going on in the community, the Health Department said.

The flu also continues to be prevalent with 7 new cases in Orleans and 9 in Genesee for the week ending March 21.

“This data continues to show a high number of respiratory illness in our counties is not Covid-19,” the Health Department said.

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