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.


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.

Stephen Lecce / Twitter

Ontario’s education minister is calling on Ottawa to provide COVID-19 vaccines for children. His call comes as the province records more than 2,000 new cases a day for the fourth straight day.

Karen DeWitt / WBFO Albany Correspondent

Critics of some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s nursing home policies during the COVID-19 pandemic marked the anniversary of the controversial March 25, 2020 order that required the homes to take back from hospitals residents who were ill with the disease. They said an ongoing federal probe does not go far enough in investigating all that may have gone wrong in the governor’s management of nursing homes during the pandemic. 

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

The Seneca Nation is playing a role in distribution of COVID vaccinations by hosting a clinic inside the Seneca Allegany Events Center. It’s a joint effort with the Cattaraugus County Health Department to deliver shots, and convince other eligible persons to sign up.

Google Maps

The Cuomo Administration has announced 14 new community-based pop-up vaccination sites will begin operating across the state over the coming week, with the aim of vaccinating more than 4,200 residents.

KeyBank Center

Starting Wednesday, KeyBank Center will open its Lexus Club as a COVID-19 vaccination site.

Matthias Schrader / AP

In the U.S. and Canada, COVID-19 vaccines have been rolling out for more than 100 days with different results. The U.S. has vaccinated more than 20% of its population, while Canada is at less than 6%. Health authorities are in race to vaccinate as many people as possible before variants take a firm hold. Those variants are deadlier and more transmissible. Disrupting that effort, however, are questions about AstraZeneca's vaccine.

Evergreen Health

A New York state law due to take effect in one week could pose a financial challenge to Western New York health care providers that service some of the area’s most marginalized patients. 


Another one-day pop-up vaccination clinic is open in Buffalo today for residents of the 14207 zip code. The Northwest Buffalo Community Center is distributing vaccines until 4 p.m. this afternoon.

Chautauqua County Department of Health

Chautauqua County is making progress in its COVID-19 vaccinations, as the supply issue slowly begins to ease. That was the message to the county Health Board Thursday.

Michael Mroziak / WBFO News

There are going to be fewer empty seats in outdoor sports arenas and performing arts centers this summer.

New York State will lift its curfew next month for casinos, movie theaters and some other establishments, but closing time will still be at 11 p.m. for bars and restaurants and 12 a.m. for catered events at least until mid-April.

WBFO file photo

It was a year ago Monday that Erie County declared a state of emergency over COVID-19. The ensuing sickness, death and shutdowns has changed life as we knew it. Here’s a look from the WBFO staff at the lingering effects the pandemic has had on Western New York.

Girls on the Run didn't run out of steam when COVID hit

Mar 15, 2021
GOTR Buffalo

Organized sports have been proven to be especially beneficial to youngsters, whose bodies are still growing and minds are still developing. They benefit not only from the competition and teamwork of sports, but the opportunity to get physically and mentally stronger. So as COVID-19 shut down group activities, the all-volunteer Girls on the Run didn't put away the sneakers.

First Nations Development Institute

The state Health Department has been reaching out to various communities across New York, working with them on COVID-19 and now on the importance of receiving the vaccine. Thursday evening’s "fireside chat" was with the Native American community.

WBFO file photo

It was on March 14, 2020 when Erie County learned of its first three positive COVID-19 cases. The following day, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced a state of emergency, while Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein and her staff embarked on what would become months of long hours, struggles to find enough equipment and supplies, and public reactions ranging from warm support to angry protests. Burstein recently spoke to WBFO to reflect on the year that was.

Thomas O'Neil-White

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz stood at the corner of Perry and Main streets in downtown Buffalo Wednesday afternoon, directing people on how to get into KeyBank Center from the HarborCenter.

The home of the Buffalo Sabres and the Buffalo Bandits joins Erie Community College’s North and South Campuses as mass COVID-19 vaccination sites for county residents.

Erie County Department of Health

A Catholic school in Amherst has rejected advice from the Erie County Health Department to go to virtual learning after nine COVID-19 cases were found in three classrooms. This comes as new vaccination sites open Wednesday.

Attorneys at The Coppola Firm announced they have filed a second lawsuit against Russell's Steaks, Chops and More and Salvatore's Grand Hotel.

City of Toronto

On this Monday morning, Ontario’s two COVID-19 hotspots will move into a new phase of reopening, as the province recorded fewer than 1,000 cases for more than a week. A surge in cases on Sunday could disrupt long-term plans, however.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration receives many complaints about problems with drugs and medical devices. A team from the University at Buffalo has been assigned the task of figuring out which of these complaints are a serious health risk.

WBFO file photo / WBFO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo provided some good news in his pandemic update Saturday.

Cheryl Gerber / AP

Catholic Health in Buffalo is distributing the J&J vaccine despite concerns that it is derived from aborted cells. Some U.S. faith leaders have expressed moral concerns about Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.

'Granny flats' could be answer for many family caregivers

Mar 4, 2021
Provided: Acton ADU

A year ago, Vorng Thep’s parents lived in an apartment they couldn’t afford, in an area at least 15 minutes from their closest adult child.

As a couple in their 80s, they increasingly needed more care when it came to cooking, cleaning and transportation to appointments. Apartments like theirs in San Jose, California, cost between $1,800 and $3,000 a month, and leasing at an assisted living facility or buying a small home closer to their children was even more expensive. 

US Veteran's Admin/File photo

The KeyBank Center downtown will host a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic for people over 65 years of age next week, becoming the third large-scale distribution point in Erie County.

Niagara County

Niagara County will be receiving 6,500 first doses of COVID-19 vaccines next week. That is the highest allocation of vaccinations to date in the county.

Delavan Grider Community Center

As millions more doses of now three anti-COVID vaccines start flooding out across the country, there will be more and more places to put your arm out for a shot locally.

Frank Augstein | AP

Ontario is considering accelerating the COVID-19 vaccine rollout by extending the time between doses. That comes as new virus cases in the province have dropped below 1,000 for the first time in a week.

University at Buffalo

Last year, a team of 43 clinicians and researchers from 14 nations drafted the international guidelines for treating patients seriously ill with COVID-19. Those guidelines were recently updated. One of the team members may be found at the University at Buffalo's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.