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.


Max Schulte / WXXI News

People are apparently traveling long distances to get their COVID-19 vaccinations. Gov. Andrew Cuomo told his briefing Wednesday that some have gone from Buffalo to Rochester.

Office of the Governor

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a close ally of President Joe Biden, said it’s a “new day” with Wednesday’s inauguration of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Cuomo also said he remains concerned about the slow manufacture of vaccines that could finally end the COVID-19 pandemic.

Erie County / YouTube

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz told his COVID briefing Tuesday he may have to cancel vaccination clinics set for Thursday and Friday because expected vaccine hasn’t shown up yet.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday addressed major problems plaguing the state’s vaccine sign-up website, saying there are vastly more New Yorkers eligible to be vaccinated than there are vaccines.

Doug Ford / Twitter

The Ford government is facing criticism over its stay-at-home order. Many people in Ontario say the directives aren’t clear and even some health care professionals say they’re disappointed.

Gareth Rhodes / New York State Department of Financial Services

One day after announcing that five new state-run vaccination sites are opening this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office is warning that appointments for the limited number of vaccines at those sites are already booked through April.

WBFO file photo

While again stating that New York's ability to distribute the COVID vaccine is restricted by the limited weekly supply provided by the federal government, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state will adhere to updated federal guidelines which expand the number of people currently eligible to receive their first COVID vaccine dose.

Rob Ortt / Facebook

The rollout of the next phase of New York’s COVID-19 vaccination plan continued to experience glitches on Monday, with sites for seniors to sign up for vaccines not working or overwhelmed.

FDA.gov / FDA

Phase 1-B of New York’s COVID vaccination distribution strategy is underway today.

Doug Ford / Twitter

New modeling for the coronavirus in Ontario is expected to be unveiled early this week. It comes as the province is averaging well over 3,000 new cases a day and officials expect the numbers to continue to rise.

Erie County Department of Health

Thursday's Erie County COVID-19 briefing reported "distressing" figures: the largest one-day total of positive cases since the pandemic began.

WBFO file photo

Niagara County is rolling out its COVID-19 vaccine distribution program and will begin administering it to eligible members of the public next week.

Frank Augstein / Associated Press

The Ontario government is taking criticism for the slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. It comes as the province surpasses 200,000 total cases of the coronavirus.


County leaders in New York said Tuesday that their health departments have been developing vaccination plans for years and can help smooth the rocky rollout of the state’s vaccination program, but they need more cooperation from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his administration.

Buffalo Bills

The parking lot at the Buffalo Bills' stadium in Orchard Park will be packed Wednesday with fans planning to see the team play the Indianapolis Colts Saturday.


Attorneys for local restaurants and the state could not come to an agreement in court Monday, so they will be back at it again on Friday. The two sides are arguing over the latest COVID-19 restrictions mandated by New York.

Office of the Governor

In New York state, like in most of the nation, the COVID-19 vaccination rollout is behind schedule and Gov. Andrew Cuomo is threatening to withhold new doses from hospitals that do not speed things up.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that the New York State health department testing labs have discovered a case of the more contagious form of the coronavirus first discovered in the United Kingdom.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is giving is regular COVID-19 briefing Monday. Watch it live here at 2:30 p.m.

File Photo / WBFO News

Another inmate death in the New York State Prison System has prison reform advocates calling for emergency action. 

While many people working within New York State have had paid sick time available to them, others were not guaranteed that benefit until the New York Paid Sick Leave Law was signed into effect last year. Upon the start of the new year, workers may now begin using hours collected since the end of September.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The United States may be having trouble getting vaccine into the arms of those who need to be protected against COVID-19, it isn’t because of a shortage.

Rick Hillier / Twitter

The number of coronavirus cases in Ontario continues to climb, reaching a new record over the past two days of nearly 4,500. There’s also been criticism of the slowness of the vaccine rollout.

Rogelio V. Solis / Associated Press

New York state’s positivity rate for the coronavirus jumped to 8.3%, according to the latest numbers released Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The news comes as the state continues its vaccine rollout and the governor is withholding scheduled pay raises for all state elected officials.

Erie County has changed its COVID-19 quarantine guidelines.

Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute

If you travel through the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute is one of the more distinctive buildings, with most passersby probably not knowing much about what goes on inside. This spring, the institute will be moving up in the worldwide medical research community.

Neighborhood Health Center of WNY

After nearly a decade at 300 Niagara St., Neighborhood Health Center of WNY is buying the building from Kaleida Health. Health officials said the purchase will not only ensure, but help grow primary care in the high-need area of Buffalo’s Lower West Side.

Avery Schneider / WBFO News

The Buffalo City Swim Racers program has relaunched with a new name and website to encompass its growing activities, now known as City Swim Project.

Doug Ford / Twitter

The Ontario Hospital Association is calling on the province to move all regions in the so-called "red zone" of the coronavirus into an enforced shutdown. The call comes as Ontario logs more than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases for the third day in a row.

Holiday lights could fight coronavirus depression

Dec 17, 2020
Byron Brown / Twitter

Holiday lights could be one way to climb out of the holiday depression and anxiety brought on by COVID-19. One central New York psychiatric expert said stringing more lights can only help everyone’s mood.