WBFO Health & Wellness Desk


For a region to thrive, its people need to be healthy; inadequacies in health and wellness have a range of social and economic consequences that affect many members of our community. Health inequality, cancer clusters, and high rates of heart disease and obesity are all part of the fabric of WNY, as much as the world-class research and treatment providers that are becoming a growing part of the region’s economic power. WBFO is committed to providing listeners with incisive reports on all of these issues that affect their lives.

The Health & Wellness New Desk is funded by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York.


Erie County Department of Health

Erie County is showing sign of having the same problems getting young people vaccinated against COVID-19 as with older groups.

Office of the Governor

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that some remaining COVID-19 restrictions in New York will end in a couple of weeks, including capacity limits on most events, and in some cases, the 6' social distancing rule.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand visited Niagara Falls Monday morning to promote a package of bills that she and other backers say will reel in rising prescription drug costs.

National Cancer Institute

One of the casualties of COVID-19 is routine screening for potential health problems, but a late diagnosis can mean more serious progression of cancers like lung, breast and prostate.

Office of the Auditor General

Once again, the coronavirus pandemic has thrown a spotlight on Ontario’s long-term care homes. Two reports criticize the lack of action by the government, as well as existing problems in the homes, which left hundreds of residents and staff easy targets for the pandemic -- and they paid the ultimate price.

Bill de Blasio / Twitter

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, facing resistance to lingering COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, says the virus is not yet conquered, and is urging caution on reopening up society too quickly.

Monte McNaughton / Twitter

After weeks of pressure, Ontario has announced a program of paid sick leave benefits. It’s the latest move by Premier Doug Ford’s government to help curb the transmission of COVID-19.

Erie County / YouTube

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz held a COVID-19 update briefing in Buffalo, discussing the latest case numbers, as well as a new incentive for getting vaccinated. Watch it here.

Darren McGee- Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo held his regular COVID-19 update briefing in Binghamton Tuesday. Watch it here.

Jacobs Institute

The Jacobs Institute, a medical innovation center located on Ellicott Street within the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, named Dr. Adnan Siddiqui its new chief executive officer Tuesday.

Erie County / YouTube

The average age of COVID-19 patients in Erie County continues to drop heavily, because there has been so much effort to vaccinate older residents. Now young people playing sports has become a major issue.

Erie County Department of Health

The vocal parent group Western New York Students First wants Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein fired by the county executive for not allowing wide reopening of schools.

Williamsville Central Schools

Williamsville elementary school students will return to classes in district buildings Monday, but it is not clear whether middle and high school students will return to the buildings most of the time in this school year.

Doug Ford / Twitter

Ontario Premier Doug Ford ordered yet another set of restrictions Friday to try to curb the spread of the pandemic, but some of those measures ran into a firestorm of criticism, so much so that he had to reverse them.

Still, COVID-19 daily case counts in Ontario continue to sky rocket, reaching more than 4,000 a day over the weekend, and hospitals are filling up with COVID-19 patients. Ford admitted, the province is on the ropes.

On Sunday, a walk will be held to connect Niagara Falls residents to nature, their community and each other. The intent is to have people show up, walk together (socially distant) and heal together after a year of the pandemic.

Sylvia Jones / Twitter

With COVID-19 cases counts breaking records, Ontario is considering stricter measures. The province had a record-setting 4,736 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday.

Erie Cou

Erie County health officials are seeing a surge in COVID infections among students.

Jackie Orchard / WAMC

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that New York state will distribute 35,000 COVID-19 vaccines directly to state’s and New York City’s public colleges and universities — where some schools have already begun offering the vaccine — with the aim of vaccinating as many college students as possible before the end of the spring semester.

Sinai Health

Hospitals across Ontario will begin to ramp down all elective, non-emergency surgeries beginning Monday. The instruction, given Friday, was to preserve critical care capacity because of the soaring numbers of COVID-19 in the third wave of the pandemic.

Tom Dinki/WBFO file photo

The 2021 New York state budget will push the impending 340B “carve-out” to 2023, providing something of a victory for health care providers who had said they stood to lose millions of dollars.

Doug Ford / Twitter

As expected, Ontario Premier Doug Ford has brought down new tough restrictions, less than a week after imposing a shutdown. Ford sent his province back into lockdown, in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic’s third wave.

Doug Ford / Twitter

Less than a week since announcing a province-wide shutdown, Ontario Premier Doug Ford says tougher restrictions are on the way. The change comes as Ford faces calls from the medical community for stronger measures in the face of surging cases of the coronavirus.


Medicine is moving into the selfie age, with the increased use of tiny cameras probing the insides of a body. The idea has become especially useful in the COVID-19 era.

Office of the Governor

New York will allow universal access to the COVID-19 vaccine for anyone above the age of 15 starting Tuesday.

Doug Ford / Twitter

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is warning people in his province to be prepared for another possible lockdown, as the coronavirus surges. Ford’s warning comes after a key scienitific adviser says the pandemic in Ontario is completely out of control.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

One of the results of the COVID pandemic is a rise in applications for public health studies, according to educators at two local institutions where undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered.

Erie County

The number of New Yorkers able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine is about to dramatically increase, as those 30 and older became eligible Tuesday and those 16 and older will be eligible starting next week. Luckily for Erie County, it’s about to receive its largest weekly vaccine allocation yet.

Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center

Albany has located a mass vaccination site at the Niagara Falls Conference Center in downtown. It is staffed by Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and 100 temporary workers.

Mayor Robert Restaino has expressed some doubts about the site, because it's far away from some of the poorest residents and difficult to access by public transit. Niagara University’s Rolanda Ward agreed, saying there may be better ways to persuade people to get shots.

Denise Young / WXXI News

Vaccine eligibility for New Yorkers will expand to include anyone over the age of 30, effective Tuesday.