County ready to ramp up COVID vaccine delivery once supply is sufficient

Submitted by Howard Owens on Thu, 01/14/2021 - 15:14

Once the supply is available, officials in Genesee County will be ready to distribute 600 COVID-19 vaccine doses a day, three days a week at Genesee Community College, Public Health Director Paul Pettit said this morning during a press briefing.

The question is, though, when will the federal-to-state-to-regional-to-local distribution system be able to deliver that many doses on a weekly basis.

This week, Genesee County received only 300 doses of vaccine.

"The biggest challenge we're going to have is, again, the vaccine coming to us in a reasonable time," Pettit said.

It's a frustration every county in the Finger Lakes region shares, Pettit said. It's hard to say where the bottleneck in delivery is, at the state or federal level, but the vaccines have been produced and are ready for delivery.

Once distribution glitches get worked out, Pettit is hopeful we will have a sufficient and steady supply of the vaccine to meet local vaccination goals.

"I think I think as we go forward, the expectation is they'll get more supply into the system, into the chain, which then we will be able to receive locally," Pettit said. "You're going to have pharmacies, you're going to have providers, you're going to have our public clinics all up and running. Hopefully, the availability at some point will start to balance with the eligibility and the requests and we'll get to where we need to be so that all everybody that wants the vaccine is going to be able to get it."

The process of vaccinating people in the 1A group -- mostly frontline health care workers -- is nearing completion. This week, the governor authorized vaccinations for people in the 1B Group, which includes people 75 and older and people 60 and older with health risks that make them more vulnerable to the disease.

You can't call and get an appointment for the vaccine, however. People who are eligible are being called randomly and offered the chance to receive the vaccine, which is optional.

There are an estimated 13,000 people locally in the 1B group.

"In that 60 to 65 (age) group, you have medically some type of underlying health issue where if you've compromised (you're at risk)," Pettit said. "The state has not put out guidance yet on what that really means as far as who would be eligible under those criteria. As soon as that information comes out, we'll make sure to push that out to everybody. "

Once there is sufficient vaccines available locally, the health department will run clinics at GCC on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays indefinitely.  

The testing sites the department has been running the past few weeks for asymptomatic residents have given staff and volunteers plenty of experience to help them run vaccination clinics efficiently, Pettit said.

Pettit noted that area pharmacies are starting to receive and will soon receive their own supply of vaccines. The pharmacies will operate independently of the health department.

"We're not overseeing that process," Pettit said.

NOTE: Because of unexpected computer issues, we weren't able to livestream the first 30 minutes of the briefing but we did capture most of what Paul Pettit had to say.

Drive-thru clinic at St. Jerome's provides first vaccines to residents in Group 1B

Submitted by Press Release on Thu, 01/14/2021 - 14:36

Press release:

This week, Rochester Regional Health began providing the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to its primary care patients who are age 75 and older. The system is directly calling patients in this group to schedule appointments at COVID-19 vaccine clinics located throughout Greater Rochester. One of Rochester Regional’s clinics is located outside United Memorial Medical Center’s Jerome Center and it began vaccinating patients in this group today.

The clinics are by appointment only. The health system has been selecting, at random, patients age 75 and older who are enrolled in primary care practices owned by or affiliated with Rochester Regional Health. When a patient is selected, a Rochester Regional Health representative calls the patient and schedules their vaccine appointment.

“By randomly selecting patients from the eligible age group, we are ensuring fair and equal access,” said Stephanie Dodd, RN, director of Nursing for Rochester Regional Health. “It also makes it easier for patients. If you go to a primary care practice owned by or affiliated with Rochester Regional Health and you are in the eligible age group, someone from our central office will call you when the vaccine is available to you and help make your appointment.”

This week, Rochester Regional is on track to administer 1,200 vaccinations for patients age 75 and older.

Per the latest guidance from New York State, Rochester Regional Health will expand this process to include patients age 65 years and older beginning next week.

Patients in this age group are part of Phase 1B in the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) prioritization guidelines. Community members who are not enrolled with a Rochester Regional Health owned or affiliated primary care practice, and/or are younger than 65, but are still eligible under Phase 1B for other reasons (including educators, first responders, public safety workers and public transit workers), are encouraged to call the New York State vaccination hotline at 1-833-NYS-4VAX (1-833-697-4829) or use the New York State “Am I Eilgible?” app.

Key reminders:

  • Rochester Regional Health COVID-19 vaccine clinics are by appointment only. If you are 65 or older and enrolled with a Rochester Regional Health primary care provider, you will receive a call to schedule your vaccine appointment. 
  • Rochester Regional is selecting patients at random from the list of those who are eligible under state guidelines. This is to ensure fair and equal access to the vaccine.
  • If you are not a Rochester Regional Health primary care patient 65 or older, but think you may be eligible, call the New York State vaccination hotline at 1-833-NYS-4VAX (1-833-697-4829) or use the New York State “Am I Eilgible?”app.
  • Please do not call a hospital directly about making a vaccine appointment.
  • If you have medical questions about the vaccine, call your primary care doctor.
  • Rochester Regional Health patients can sign up for the MyCare app as another way to stay updated.

As more community members become eligible, Rochester Regional Health will share additional information about expanded vaccination efforts.

Law and Order: Washington Avenue man accused of smoking crack in vestibule of Sheriff's Office

Submitted by Billie Owens on Thu, 01/14/2021 - 11:29

Chad Michael Johnston, 34, of Washington Avenue, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree -- a stimulant. At 1:07 a.m. on Jan. 14 Johnston was arrested. He was observed by Genesee County Emergency dispatchers in the vestibule of the Sheriff's Office on Park Road in Batavia. While there, he was allegedly observed on video footage using a lighter in the corner. Upon further investigation, he was allegedly found in possession of seven baggies of crack cocaine. It was also found that Johnston allegedly used the lighter to light a glass pipe to smoke the crack cocaine while inside the vestibule. He was held in county jail and arraigned at 9 o'clock the same morning in Batavia City Court. Bail, if any, or status not provided. The case was handled by Deputy Jacob Gauthier, assisted by Sheriff James Stack.

Tawnya L. Muscato, 30, no address provided, of Batavia, is charged with: driving while ability impaired by drugs; criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree; criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree; and speeding. She was arrested by the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office after a traffic stop on Route 98 at School Street in the Town of Sheldon on Dec. 27. Moscato was stopped for allegedly speeding -- driving at 56 mph in a 35-mph zone -- on Route 20A. During the traffic stop she was allegedly found to possess five bags of suspected fentanyl and multiple pieces of drug use and packaging paraphernalia. In addition, she allegedly performed poorly on roadside sobriety testing and was taken to the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office for processing. While there, a Drug Recognition Expert from Warsaw Police Department evaluated her and allegedly determined Moscato was impaired by drugs and unable to drive a vehicle safely. She was released to a sober third party after being issued appearance tickets to be in Town of Sheldon Court Jan. 11. The case was handled by Sgt. Colin Reagan.

LIVE: Genesee County COVID briefing Jan. 14, 2021

Submitted by Howard Owens on Thu, 01/14/2021 - 10:12
Video Sponsor

This is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m.

UPDATE: We had audio trouble at the start and I had to restart my computer, which took 20 minutes.

Genesee County reported 49 positive COVID tests

Submitted by Howard Owens on Wed, 01/13/2021 - 20:02

Press release:

  • Genesee County received 49 new positive cases of COVID-19.
    • The new positive cases reside in the:
      • West Region (Alabama, Darien, Pembroke)
      • Central Region (Alexander, Batavia, Bethany, Elba, Oakfield)
      • East Region (Bergen, Byron, Le Roy, Pavilion, Stafford)
  • The individuals are in their 0-19s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.
  • Forty-seven of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.
  • Sixteen of the current positive individuals are hospitalized.
  • Four of the new positive cases are residents of Premier Genesee Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.
  • Six of the new positive cases are residents of the LeRoy Village Green Residential Healthcare Facility.

 

  • Orleans County received 39 new positive cases of COVID-19 from Tuesday through today.
  • The positive cases reside in the:
    • West Region (Yates, Ridgeway, Shelby)
    • Central Region (Carlton, Gaines, Albion, Barre)
    • East Region (Kendall, Murray, Clarendon)
  • The individuals are in their 0-19s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s.
  • Eight of the new positive individuals were on quarantine prior to testing positive.
  • Twenty-six of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation.
  • Fourteen of the current positive individuals are hospitalized.
  • One of the new positive cases is a resident of Orchard Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.
  • We are saddened to report the COVID-related loss of a community member. The individual was less than 65. We do not provide any further information to protect the privacy of the individuals and their families. We express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of this person during this very difficult time.

Jacobs defends vote against impeachment of Trump, accused of inciting an attempted insurrection

Submitted by Howard Owens on Wed, 01/13/2021 - 19:46

President Donald J. Trump was impeached for alleged crimes while in office for a second time today and Rep. Chris Jacobs did not join his house colleagues in accusing the president of inciting an attempted insurrection on Jan. 6.

Jacobs released the following statement:

“The events of last week were horrific, and the violence we witnessed has no place in our democracy. Those responsible must be held accountable for their actions. I want to thank the brave men and women of the United States Capitol Police who showed true heroism while protecting me, my colleagues, and thousands of staff members and aides. 

“Our nation is clearly divided. Healing this division and moving the country forward should be our first and foremost priority. This rushed impeachment proceeding accomplishes none of these goals, especially given that the President has agreed to an orderly and peaceful transition of power on January 20th, 2021.

“Impeachment has been used rarely in our nation’s history, and when it has been used the House of Representatives has carried out a full and deliberate process complete with an investigation, hearings led by the Judiciary Committee, and a mark-up of the articles of impeachment before a vote is called. We witnessed none of that today. The process was rushed, avoided due process, and set a dangerous precedent to further politically weaponize impeachment. 

“Because of the abbreviated process, the short length left in the President’s term, and his commitment to a peaceful transition, I voted against the articles of impeachment today. Our nation has significant challenges we still need to address – including the on-going COVID-19 crisis.

“Our focus should be on tackling these very serious and pressing issues while we work to heal a deeply divided nation. Now is the time to move forward, not take additional divisive action at a time when our country cannot bear it. 

“The peaceful transition of power is a hallmark of our American democracy; it is what sets us apart. Now more than ever, I believe all Americans need to see that transition process occur, as it always has, to reaffirm that our democracy is still strong, healthy, and unbreakable.

Ten Republicans joined the Democratic majority in voting for impeachment.

Trump invited his supporters to Washinton, D.C., on Jan. 6, the date both houses of Congress were to meet in joint session to certify the Electoral College votes, to "stop the steal." At the rally, Trump falsely claimed he won the election by millions of votes, by a landside, and told the crowd of supporters that they needed to march to the Capitol Building and Cheer members of Congress who stood strong with him but suggested VP Mike Pence wouldn't have "the courage" to send certification back to the states. 

“We are going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women,” he said, “and we are probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them — because you will never take back our country with weakness.”

Members of the crowd set up a gallows outside the capital and were overheard saying they intended to hang Pence.

A police officer was killed during the riot and another committed suicide afterward.  Three other people died, including a Trump supporter who was shot by police and one who was trampled to death by other Trump supporters.

Since Jan. 6, dozens of Trump supporters have been arrested by the FBI for their alleged participation in forcefully entering the capital building.

Last night, we emailed Jacobs the following question: If inciting an attempted insurrection isn't an impeachable offense, what is? Here's his response received earlier today before the impeachment vote:

“This process is rushed, absent due process or Judiciary hearings, and sets a dangerous precedent for politically weaponizing the process of impeachment. Given the President’s commitment to a peaceful transition and the short amount of time left in his term, this process will bring about more division at a time when our country cannot bear any more. Instead, we all need to mindful of our rhetoric and work to move our nation forward, and those who committed violent acts last week must be brought to justice.”

Trump becomes the first president in history impeached twice.  In the first impeachment, the Senate did not vote to convict Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. There are legal scholars who maintain that the Senate does not have to act on the impeachment (equivalent to an indictment by a grand jury) before he leaves office on Jan. 20.

Near the end of the riot on Jan. 6, Trump praised his supporters, saying " We love you; you're very special," he added, later saying: "But go home, and go home in peace."

Later, he condemned the violence and a few days later said the rioters were likely Antifa, which House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who had received intelligence briefings on the riot, told Trump wasn't true.

Tonight, after his second impeachment, Trump delivered a pre-recorded speech and called for calm.

"No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence. No true supporter of mine could ever disrespect law enforcement or our great American flag," he said.

"Now I am asking everyone who has ever believed in our agenda to be thinking of ways to ease tensions, calm tempers, and help to promote peace in our country," he said.

Jacobs announces SBA webinar tomorrow on the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant

Submitted by Press Release on Wed, 01/13/2021 - 16:37

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) is announcing a webinar hosted by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to discuss the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant.

“I first want to commend the SBA for their tireless work to support our small businesses and our communities," Jacobs said. “One of my top priorities since taking office has been to deliver economic relief to support millions of American small businesses.

"When we passed the most recent COVID-19 aid package, not only did we deliver $284 billion to support the Paycheck Protection Program, but we also enacted additional provisions such as the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act that continue to represent our commitment to a strong American comeback."

This legislation allocated $15 billion to the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, which offers up to $10 million in grant funding to eligible organizations. The webinar will take place on Jan. 14th at 3 p.m. EST, and will cover eligibility, accessibility of grants, and the application process. 

Please be advised this webinar will fill up fast, if additional sessions become available an update will be provided.

To register for the webinar, visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/shuttered-venue-operators-grant-webinar-registration-136050549857?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery  

In addition, the Paycheck Protection Program is currently open to both first time recipients and applicants seeking a second draw. The funding is being distributed through Community Financial Institutions.

To be eligible for a second loan, a borrower must meet the following criteria:

1) Received a first-time loan and has or will use the full amount for authorized uses;

2) Has no more than 300 employees, and

3) Can demonstrate at least a 25-percent reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.

For more information on the Paycheck Protection Program, please visit: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program.

Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo 2021 scholarship process is open

Submitted by Press Release on Wed, 01/13/2021 - 16:04

Press release:

The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo scholarship application process for the 2021 – 2022 academic year is now open. Applications are due by May 1 and must be submitted online.

All students, including Say Yes Buffalo applicants and scholars, that meet the following eligibility requirements are encouraged to apply.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be a current resident of one of the eight counties of Western New York (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, Wyoming);
  • Have a minimum of a “C” average or a GPA of 2.0 or greater;
  • Be admitted to a nonprofit 501(c)(3), U.S. Department of Education accredited school for full-time study beginning in the fall 2021 semester. 

Scholarship awards typically range from $1,000 to $6,000.

More than 200 individuals, families, foundations and organizations have established scholarship funds through the Community Foundation. In 2020, the Community Foundation remained as one of the region’s largest scholarship providers, awarding scholarships totaling $3 million to more than 3,000 Western New York students. 

For more information on the Community Foundation’s scholarship program, including application instructions, please visit www.cfgbscholarships.org or text SCHOLARSHIP to (855) 213 - 4426.*

* By taking this action you are affirming that you will receive recurring Scholarship Deadline alert text messages from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. Please click here for our Privacy Policy. Text STOP to opt-out, HELP for more information. No purchase necessary. Message & data rates may apply.

Declaration of State of Emergency renewed for up to 30 days by Town of Batavia due to COVID-19

Submitted by Press Release on Wed, 01/13/2021 - 15:49

Public Notice

Town of Batavia State of Emergency Declaration

A State of Emergency was declared in the TOWN OF BATAVIA, effective at 6 p.m. on Jan. 12, 2020.

This State of Emergency has been declared due to the existing and continuing declared States of Emergency at the Federal, State, County, and City of Batavia, related to the COVID-19 virus.

This situation threatens the public safety.

This State of Emergency will remain in effect for 30 days or until rescinded by a subsequent order.

As the Chief Executive of TOWN OF BATAVIA, County of Genesee, State of New York, I, Gregory H. Post, exercise the authority given me under Section 24 of the New York State Executive Law, to preserve the public safety and hereby render all required and available assistance vital to the security, well-being, and health of the citizens of this Municipality.

I hereby direct all departments and agencies of TOWN OF BATAVIA to take whatever steps necessary to protect life and property, public infrastructure, and provide such emergency assistance deemed necessary.

Gregory H. Post,

Town of Batavia Supervisor

Jan. 11, 2021

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