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Orleans has worst day yet for Covid-19 with 5 deaths, 23 new cases

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 May 2020 at 6:46 pm

Orleans County is reporting is worst day yet of the Covid-19 pandemic with 23 new confirmed cases and five deaths from the coronavirus.

The 23 new cases bring the county’s total cases to 194. That is more than neighboring Genesee County, which didn’t have any new confirmed cases today and remains at 178.

Genesee is more populous than Orleans, 57,280 residents compared to 40,352, according to the 2019 Census.

In Orleans, the majority of the cases are at nursing homes – 112 out of 194. Today’s report from the health department shows 22 new cases at Orchard Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Medina. That 160-bed nursing home now has had 25 confirmed cases. The health department is also reporting four residents at Orchard have died from Covid-19.

The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center in Albion doesn’t have any new confirmed cases and remains at 87. However, one resident passed away from the virus, bringing the total deaths at The Villages to 23 from Covid-19.

In Genesee County, none of the nursing homes have any confirmed cases of Covid-19.

Paul Pettit, the public health director in Orleans and Genesee, said he expects the nursing home numbers will continue to rise because of a state mandate require testing of all residents, and twice-w-week testing of nursing home staff.

That testing will allow the nursing home operators to more quickly identify residents with the virus, and move them away from non-positive residents.

The health department provided additional information on the 23 new confirmed cases. One is a Ridgeway resident and the others live at Orchard Rehab and Nursing Center.

Of the new positive cases, one individual is in the 20s, three are in their 50s, three are in their 60s, six are in their 70s, seven are in their 80s and three are in their 90s.

The health department is also reporting two more recoveries from Covid-19 in Orleans County, bringing the total to 59. Genesee has three more recoveries for 112 total.

In Orleans, 15 of the total active positive cases are hospitalized.

Click here to see an online map of confirmed cases in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties.

The facility breakdown is only showing the total positive cases from those facilities from where the health department has been notified of a positive swab for Covid-19. Facilities will be added if there is a positive case of Covid-19.

Because the local health departments don’t follow the positive cases for facilities, we cannot report any recoveries from the facilities. If a regulated facility from either of the counties is not listed, there are no positive cases of Covid-19. The local health departments do not have oversight with many regulated facilities, which may include nursing homes, correctional facilities, hospitals, etc.

More information from the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments:

• Memorial Day Weekend: As we move into the Memorial Day weekend, we would like to take a moment to remember those who fought for our freedom and have given the ultimate sacrifice, their lives.

We appreciate each of these individuals and their families who gave so much for this great nation. Even though there aren’t any public gatherings or parades, it doesn’t stop you from visiting cemeteries and monuments or have your own household time to remember our service men and women as long as you continue to social distance.

This is also the unofficial beginning of summer and we encourage people to be creative on how they can safely enjoy the great weather without putting others at risk of contracting Covid-19. Consider planting a victory garden of flowers, fruits and vegetables, go for daily hikes while social distancing, and/or start up some new hobbies.

Take time to step back and enjoy the slower pace we have found ourselves in during this pandemic. Remember to journal about how you and your family made it through these historic times. We are one day closer to making this a memory, remember this is only temporary. We can get through this together, without being so close.

• Social gatherings: According to the Governor’s Executive Orders we are still unable to have any gatherings over 10 for any reason.

For questions go to NY Forward website and the Regional Control Room (for guidance and to answer your questions: mailto:flnyf@esd.ny.gov). To file a complaint about a business, location or incident in your community you can call 1-833-789-0470 or click here.

Un-PAUSING does NOT mean we can start having social events, even outside. The Governor’s Executive Order still bans gatherings of any kind, in any location, to no more than 10 people.

• No yard/garage sales: Currently state guidelines are restricting these activities. The virus can be on items for several hours/days depending on the surface and can cause infection. People are touching the items to examine them, so it can put others at risk.

• The more socialization that occurs the higher risk of transmitting the virus, especially to those who are most vulnerable. It is imperative we still restrict social/family gatherings until we are certain to have this under control and/or there is a vaccine.

• It is expected we will see an uptick of positive cases and mandatory quarantines as social interaction increases.

• If cases increase, it shows us people may be ignoring the orders to not have gatherings of 10 or more people, not social distancing, not hand washing/sanitizing, disinfecting shared surfaces often, and/or not wearing face coverings properly.

This can also impact our ability to continue the re-opening phases. We ask that you respect the guidance and continue to social distance.

• New York State on PAUSE: NYS on PAUSE will continue until at least May 28, regarding large and social gatherings. To assist local authorities with enforcement of these orders, the Governor established the New York State PAUSE Enforcement Assistance Task Force where individuals can file complaints regarding the operation of non-essential businesses or gatherings 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Click here to file a complaint online. You may also call 1-833-789-0470.

Businesses that are not in compliance with the Governor’s executive order may be penalized.

• Masks/Face Coverings: Both counties are still low in supplies of masks. They are being distributed to high-risk agencies/businesses as prioritized and if there is a supply left over they will be distributed in an appropriate manner. County plans for releasing supplies to the public will be forthcoming as supplies become available. Additional information will be released by the respective County Emergency Management offices as appropriate.

• ROC Covid-19 Health Screener: This symptom tracker for the Greater Rochester region is a scientific study collected aggregate data by zip code to track hot spots of Covid-19. The data will potentially show how the virus may be spreading, identify areas that may be at risk and determine how our efforts are working to slow the spread. You can participate by taking the daily survey whether you are having symptoms or are feeling healthy. It just takes a few seconds. To learn more, click here.

• Contact Tracers: New York State is seeking contact tracers. If you are interested in this position, click here to apply to be a part of the NYS Contact Tracing team. This is a moment of crisis and New York needs our help as soon as possible.

The Nursing Home hotline number is 833-249-8499 or click here for the link to the online form.

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Medina Memorial Hospital to open lab services on May 26

Posted 21 May 2020 at 5:18 pm

Press Release, Orleans Community Health

MEDINA – Lab services at Medina Memoiral Hospital will re-open by appointment only on Tuesday, May 26.

The appointments will be spaced out accordingly to ensure the safety of our patients and to minimize wait times. Temperatures will be taken upon arrival and a mask will be given to each client.

Preregistration is required: please call 585-798-2000 and select option #1.

The Albion Health Center Lab also remains open for services by appointment (585-589-2273) and the Middleport Lab will be opening soon.

If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Doran, director of Patient Registration, at 585-798-8094.

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No new cases of Covid-19 reported in Orleans, 1 more person has recovered

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 May 2020 at 4:25 pm

There are no new cases of Covid-19 reported in Orleans County today, and one more person has recovered for the coronavirus, the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments said this afternoon.

Orleans remains at 171 confirmed cases, and now has had 57 people from the community recover from the virus. There are 17 people from the county hospitalized from the virus.

In Genesee County there is one new confirmed case, a person in the 40s from Le Roy. Genesee has now had 178 confirmed cases of Covid-19. The newly positive individual from Genesee was on quarantine prior to becoming symptomatic.

In Genesee, two people are currently hospitalized with Covid-19.

More information from the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments:

Un-PAUSING does not mean we can start having social events, even outside. The Governor’s Executive Order still bans gatherings of any kind, in any location, to no more than 10 people.

The more socialization that occurs the higher risk of transmitting the virus, especially to those who are most vulnerable. It is imperative we still restrict social/family gatherings until we are certain to have this under control and/or there is a vaccine.

It is expected we will see an uptick of positive cases and mandatory quarantines as social interaction increases.

If cases increase, it shows us people may be ignoring the orders to not have gatherings of 10 or more people, not social distancing, not hand washing/sanitizing, disinfecting shared surfaces often, and/or not wearing face coverings properly.

This can also impact our ability to continue the re-opening phases. We ask that you respect the guidance and continue to social distance.

No yard/garage sales: Currently state guidelines are restricting these activities. The virus can be on items for several hours/days depending on the surface and can cause infection. People are touching the items to examine them, so it can put others at risk.

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NY asks for your vote on favorite ad urging people to wear masks

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 May 2020 at 3:07 pm

New York wants the public’s help in picking the winning ad that promotes wearing a mask when people are out in the community.

There were about 600 submissions for the ad contest, which has been narrowed to five finalists. Click here to see the finalists and to vote for one.

The state put out a call for ads that communicate why it is so important to wear a mask to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The winning ad will be used as a public service announcement. Voting closes May 25 with the winners to be announced May 26.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daughter, Mariah Kennedy Cuomo, headed up the contest.

“We are so grateful to all the New Yorkers who have submitted one of the over 600 submissions,” she said.

Her father, the governor, said masks have proven to be effective in slowing the spread of the virus. He noted that frontline workers in hospitals, public transportation, EMS, law enforcement and corrections all have a lower rate of infection than the general public.

“How do nurses and doctors have a lower infection rate than the general population? How do transit workers who are on the buses and subways all day long have a lower infection rate than the general population? How does the NYPD, police officers who show up who are dealing with people all day long, how do they have a lower infection rate? How does the NYPD have almost half the infection rate of New York City? How can it be? They are the police officers,” Cuomo said.

“They are wearing the mask. The mask works. Those surgical masks work and it’s in the data. It’s not that I’m saying it. It’s in the data and it is otherwise inexplicable.”

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Orleans reports 2 new cases of Covid-19, 4 more recoveries

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 May 2020 at 4:23 pm

Orleans County has two new confirmed cases of Covid-19. One of the new positive cases is in the 30s, and the other in the 40s. One of the new cases lives in Ridgeway and the other resides in Gaines.

Neither of the newly positive individuals were on quarantine prior to becoming symptomatic. They bring the total confirmed cases in the county to 171.

The county also has four more recoveries. That brings the total to 56 who have recovered after having Covid-19, the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments is reporting this afternoon.

There are 17 residents from Orleans County who are currently hospitalized with Covid-19.

In Genesee County, there are four new positive cases of Covid-19 for a total of 177 confirmed cases.

The positive cases reside in Batavia and LeRoy. One individual is in the 30s, another in the 40s, one in the 50s and one in the 80s.

Two of the newly positive individuals were on quarantine prior to becoming symptomatic, the health department reported.

Genesee also has had two more people recover from Covid-19, bringing the total recoveries to 108.

Two of the total active positive cases are people who are hospitalized.

Click here to view an online map of the confirmed cases in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties.

The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments also advised the following:

Memorial Day Holiday/Social gatherings: For questions go to NY Forward website and the Regional Control Room (for guidance and to answer your questions: mailto:flnyf@esd.ny.gov). To file a complaint about a business, location or incident in your community, call 1-833-789-0470 or click here.

Un-PAUSING does NOT mean we can start having social events, even outside. The Governor’s The Executive Order still bans gatherings of any kind, in any location, to no more than 10 people.

No yard/garage sales: Currently state guidelines are restricting these activities. The virus can be on items for several hours/days depending on the surface and can cause infection. People are touching the items to examine them, so it can put others at risk.

The more socialization that occurs the higher risk of transmitting the virus, especially to those who are most vulnerable. It is imperative we still restrict social/family gatherings until we are certain to have this under control and/or there is a vaccine.

• It is expected we will see an uptick of positive cases and mandatory quarantines as social interaction increases.

If cases increase, it shows us people may be ignoring the orders to not have gatherings of 10 or more people, not social distancing, not hand washing/sanitizing, disinfecting shared surfaces often, and/or not wearing face coverings properly.

This can also impact our ability to continue the re-opening phases. We ask that you respect the guidance and continue to social distance.

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Orleans has 2 more confirmed cases of Covid-19, this time at nursing home in Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 May 2020 at 4:25 pm

There are two more confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Orleans County, with both new cases at the Orchard Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Medina. That nursing home now has three cases of Covid-19, the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments is reporting.

The two who tested positive include one resident in the 60s and one in the 70s.

The county has now had 169 residents test positive for the coronavirus. The health department is reporting one more person has recovered, bringing the total recoveries to 52.

There are 17 residents who are currently hospitalized with Covid-19.

Genesee County also has one new case of Covid-19, bringing Genesee’s total to 173. The new case is a resident from Batavia in the 70s. The newly positive individual was on quarantine prior to becoming symptomatic, the health department said.

Genesee also has two more recoveries, bringing that total to 106. One Genesee resident remains hospitalized with Covid-19.

Click here to view the online map of confirmed cases in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties. The map shows 21 active cases in Orleans, 12 in Genesee and 8 in Wyoming.

More information from the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments:

The facility breakdown is only showing the total positive cases from those facilities from where we received a positive swab for Covid-19. Facilities will be added if there is a positive case of Covid-19.

Because the local health departments don’t follow the positive cases for facilities, we cannot report any recoveries from the facilities with positive cases of Covid-19. If a regulated facility from either of the counties is not listed, there are no positive cases of Covid-19. The local health departments do not have oversight with many regulated facilities, which may include nursing homes, correctional facilities, hospitals, etc.

Social gatherings: We have plenty of guidance and criteria for businesses to safely open and encourage everyone to visit the ESD website, NY Forward and the Regional Control Room for guidance and to answer your questions.

Un-PAUSING does NOT mean we can start having social events, even outside. The Executive Order bans gatherings of any kind, in any location, to no more than 10 people.

The more socialization that occurs the higher risk of transmitting the virus, especially to those who are most vulnerable. It is imperative we still restrict social/family gatherings until we are certain to have this under control and/or there is a vaccine.

It is expected we will see an uptick of positive cases and mandatory quarantines as social interaction increases.

If cases increase, it shows us people may be ignoring the orders to not have gatherings of 10 or more people, not social distancing, not hand washing/sanitizing, disinfecting shared surfaces often, and/or not wearing face coverings properly.

This can also impact our ability to continue the re-opening phases. We ask that you respect the guidance and continue to social distance.

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Sale of e-cigarettes now banned in state, pharmacies no longer allowed to sell tobacco products

Posted 19 May 2020 at 1:31 pm

Press Release, Tobacco-Free Western New York

The sale of flavored e-cigarettes ended in New York State on Monday, as did the sale of all tobacco products in pharmacies. These are huge steps forward in helping New Yorkers live free from nicotine addiction.

The new laws were passed as part of the state’s fiscal year 2021 budget. New York becomes the second state in the nation to restrict the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies.

“These policies are all part of a full court press,” said Andrew Hyland, PhD, chairman of the Department of Health Behavior and head of tobacco control programs at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. “They are part of long-standing efforts by New York State to change the social norms about tobacco by making products less appealing and less accessible.”

Research shows that the flavors in e-cigarettes attract kids and the nicotine addicts them. Nearly 40 percent of high school seniors in New York State use e-cigarettes, also referred to as “vaping,” and 27 percent of all high school youth vape. This new law ending the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in New York State will protect kids from a lifetime of nicotine addiction.

Selling tobacco products in pharmacies has long sent a contradictory message to consumers by offering tobacco alongside medicine or products for illnesses either caused by or made worse by smoking. While Erie County banned tobacco sales in pharmacies as part of its Public Health Protection Act of 2018, the seven other counties in Western New York and New York State have now implemented this law.

It also reduces the number of stores that sell tobacco products in every community, an effective way of supporting tobacco users who want to quit and reducing youth exposure to tobacco marketing. There is overwhelming evidence that the more young people see tobacco, the more likely they are to start smoking.

“We are pleased that the new laws have taken effect,” said Paul Pettit, director of the Genesee and Orleans County Health departments. “The timing is excellent with COVID-19 impacting the health of so many who have underlying health issues, which may have been brought on due to health issues related to smoking and vaping.”

Support available for New Yorkers who want to quit

For help quitting smoking or vaping, including free nicotine replacement therapy for eligible residents, individuals can contact a health care provider, call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS. Effective medications and counseling are covered by Medicaid and most insurance programs.

Tobacco Free Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties and Reality Check student groups from the GOW region have worked tirelessly to educate local communities about the need to protect children from the billions of dollars of tobacco marketing in places where kids can see it.

The statewide “Seen Enough Tobacco” initiative is focused on putting an end to youth smoking and other tobacco use. The average age of a new smoker in New York is 13 years old,  and 90 percent of adult smokers say they first tried smoking by age 18. Tobacco Free New York State, including the Reality Check student youth groups, is part of the NYS Tobacco Control Program.

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Orleans reports 1 more death at The Villages, for 22 total

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 May 2020 at 4:35 pm

County has 2 more recoveries, bringing that total to 51

One more person at The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation center has died from Covid-19, bringing the total deaths at the nursing home to 22 due to the coronavirus. The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments announced the death today.

Orleans County also has one more confirmed case of Covid-19,a person from Carlton in the 70s. That brings the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 to 167 in Orleans County.

The newly positive community case was not on quarantine prior to becoming symptomatic, the health department said.

The county also has had two more people recover from the virus, bringing the total recoveries in the community to 51.

The health department also reports that 15 people from the county are currently hospitalized with Covid-19.

Genesee County has two new confirmed cases of Covid-19, bringing the county’s total to 172 cases.

One of the new positive cases resides in Batavia and other lives in Bergen. One of the individuals is in the 20s and the other is in the 50s. Both were not on quarantine prior to becoming symptomatic.

Five of the previous positive cases have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation, bringing Genesee’s total recoveries to 104.

One Genesee resident remains hospitalized from coronavirus.

Click here to view an online map of Covid-19 cases in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties. The map shows there are 22 active community cases in Orleans County, 13 in Genesee and six in Wyoming.

More information form the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments:

The facility breakdown is only showing those facilities from where the health department has received notice of a positive swab for Covid-19. Facilities will be added if there is a positive case of Covid-19.

Because the local health departments don’t follow the positive cases for facilities, we cannot report any recoveries from the facilities with positive cases of Covid-19. If a regulated facility from either of our counties is not listed, there are no positive cases of Covid-19. The local health departments do not have oversight with many regulated facilities, which may include nursing homes, correctional facilities, hospitals, etc.

Social gatherings: We have plenty of guidance and criteria for businesses to safely open and encourage everyone to visit the ESD website, NY Forward and the Regional Control Room for guidance and to answer your questions.

Un-PAUSING does NOT mean we can start having social events, even outside. The Executive Order bans gatherings of any kind, in any location, to no more than 10 people.

The more socialization that occurs the higher risk of transmitting the virus, especially to those who are most vulnerable. It is imperative we still restrict social/family gatherings until we are certain to have this under control and/or there is a vaccine.

• It is expected we will see an uptick of positive cases and mandatory quarantines as social interaction increases. If cases increase, it shows us people may be ignoring the orders to not have gatherings of 10 or more people, not social distancing, not hand washing/sanitizing, disinfecting shared surfaces often, and/or not wearing face coverings properly.

This can also impact our ability to continue the re-opening phases. We ask that you respect the guidance and continue to social distance.

New York State on PAUSE: NYS on PAUSE will continue until at least May 28, regarding large and social gatherings. To assist local authorities with enforcement of these orders, the Governor established the New York State PAUSE Enforcement Assistance Task Force where individuals can file complaints regarding the operation of non-essential businesses or gatherings 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Click here to file a complaint online. You may also call 1-833-789-0470. Businesses that are not in compliance with the Governor’s executive order may be penalized.

Re-Opening Guidance with links to assist businesses:

• Link to the NY Forward Reopening guide: click here.

• Link to NY Forward website: click here

• Link to NY Forward “Can I re-open” business look-up tool: click here.

• Covid-19 Test Finder: click here.

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No new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in either Orleans or Genesee

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 May 2020 at 4:18 pm

There aren’t any new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Orleans and Genesee counties today, the local health department is reporting this afternoon.

On Saturday, Orleans had 12 news cases and Genesee had two new cases. Combined, the two counties have had 337 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 171 in Genesee and 166 in Orleans.

But today the numbers haven’t changed. The health department urges no slacking in taking precautions against the spread of the coronavirus.

“We continue to encourage people to practice stay safe at home, social distancing, wear face coverings/masks when out in public, frequent handwashing and disinfecting frequently touched/shared surfaces, and stay home if you are sick as we move forward in Phase 1 of NY Forward to un-PAUSE,” the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments said in a news release.

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Orleans has 8 new Covid-19 cases with 7 in the community

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 May 2020 at 5:41 pm

Orleans County received 8 new positive cases of Covid-19, bringing the county’s total confirmed cases to 154, the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments reported today.

One of the new cases is a resident of The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center in Albion, but seven of the cases were people outside the nursing home in the community.

One of the positive cases resides in Yates, two of the new positive cases reside in Ridgeway, one lives in Shelby, two are in Albion, and one of the new positive cases resides in Murray.

Three of the individuals are in their 20s, two are in their 30s, two are in their 50s and one of the new positive cases is a person in the 80s.

None of the newly positive community cases were on quarantine prior to becoming symptomatic.

One of the previous positive community cases have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation. That brings the total recoveries to 49 in Orleans County.

The Health Department reports that 13 of the total active positive cases are hospitalized. Please note those in the hospital may be from the community or a state-regulated facility. The Health Department does not separate them out to protect their privacy.

The department was made aware that the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) did swab all residents and employees of The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center, where 78 residents have tested positive for Covid-19 and 20 have died after contracting the virus. Any questions regarding specific issues should be addressed to The Villages or NYSDOH, the local health department said.

In Genesee County, there are four new positive cases of Covid-19, bringing the Genesee total to 169.

One of the new positive cases is a person who lives in Le Roy, while the other three cases are Batavia residents. One of the individuals is in the 20s and three are in their 30s.

Two of the newly positive individuals were not on quarantine prior to

becoming symptomatic.

Genesee also has had three more people recover from Covid-19, bringing the total recoveries to 99.

The county has one person currently hospitalized from the virus.

The Health Department also has received notification that one of the patients from the Batavia VA Medical Center has been identified as an Erie County resident. Therefore, the total positive case number will be one less and has been adjusted in the Genesee data.

 Click here to view an online map of confirmed cases in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties.

Additional information from the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments:

• The facility breakdown is only showing those facilities from where we received a positive swab for Covid-19. Facilities will be added if there is a positive case of Covid- 19.

Because the local health departments don’t follow the positive cases for facilities, we cannot report any recoveries from the facilities with positive cases of Covid-19. If a regulated facility from either of the counties is not listed, there are no positive cases of Covid-19. The local health departments do not have oversight with many regulated facilities, which may include nursing homes, correctional facilities, hospitals, group homes, etc.

Social gatherings: We have plenty of guidance and criteria for businesses to safely open and encourage everyone to visit the ESD website, NY Forward and the Regional Control Room for guidance and to answer your questions.

Un-PAUSING does NOT mean we can start having social events, even outside. The Executive Order bans gatherings of any kind, in any location, to no more than 10 people. The more socialization that occurs the higher risk of transmitting the virus, especially to those who are most vulnerable.

It is imperitive we still restrict social/family gatherings until we are certain to have this under control and/or there is a vaccine. It is expected we will see an uptick of positive cases and mandatory quarantines as social interaction increases. If cases increase, it shows us people may be ignoring the orders to not have gatherings of 10 or more people, not social distancing, not hand washing/sanitizing, disinfecting shared surfaces often, and/or not wearing face coverings properly. This can also impact our ability to continue the re-opening phases. We ask that you respect the guidance and continue to social distance.

• New York State on PAUSE: To assist local authorities with enforcement of these orders, the Governor established the New York State PAUSE Enforcement Assistance Task Force where individuals can file complaints regarding the operation of non-essential businesses or gatherings 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Click here to file a complaint online. You may also call 1-833-789- 0470. Businesses that are not in compliance with the Governor’s executive order may be penalized.

Upcoming Graduations: Because of the current Executive Order that bans gatherings of more than 10 people, no ceremonies are allowed in stadiums or fields. Drive-by parades are okay as long as they are maintaining social distancing orders and not parking. The Governor’s office is not going to review requests on a case by case basis.

Re-Opening Guidance: The State has provided a template for all businesses to help develop their written Safety Plan to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This plan does not need to be submitted to a state-agency for approval, however it must be retained on the premises of the business and must be made available to the New York State Department of Health (DOH) or local health or safety authorities in the event of an inspection.

Be advised the local health departments are NOT the gatekeepers in these next steps. We are NOT reviewing/approving plans and we don’t have the ability to make decisions on who is/who isn’t a part of the first phase nor have we been provided with guidance on interpreting who is and who isn’t included.

Children: Children have had their lives turned upside down with school suddenly closing, not being able to play with their friends, no birthday parties and people wearing masks wherever they go. This is a challenging time for everyone, but we also need to remember this is probably more challenging for many children.

Consider setting up virtual play dates so your children can ‘connect’ with their friends, plan to allow time for them to catch up, but also engage in an activity like playing cards or a board game they have while on a messaging app.

Spend time with your children outside. Now is a great time to start a Victory Garden of plants and fruits and vegetables as we move into warmer weather.

Mental Health: Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations and having to socially distance yourself from someone you love can be difficult. Below are resources that can help you connect to a professional that can help you through these challenging times:

• Care + Crisis Helpline is available 24/7 at 585-283-5200 or text ‘Talk’ to 741741

• New Yorkers can call the COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 1-844-863-9314 for mental health counseling

• Health care workers can text NYFRONTLINE to 741741 to access 24/7 emotional support services

• Domestic Violence: For New Yorkers in need of help or assistance, they can text 844-997-2121 or can go to the new confidential online site to reach a professional at www.opdv.ny.gov.

The new text program and confidential online service will make it easier for victims who are isolated with their abusers to get help. Both the text and online service are staffed 24/7 by the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Staff who are experts in the area of domestic violence.

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