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.


Office of the Governor

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is dialing back on statements that New York state could be headed for a second pandemic shutdown, saying if people control their behavior, it could be avoided. The governor also said he’s advancing funds to cash-strapped state contractors that are providing essential services.

Catholic Health System

Catholic Health System is asking the public for patience as they prepare to take on the role of COVID vaccine regional hub coordinator. But executives say they’re already at work to plan Phase Two of the state's vaccination distribution across five counties.

A "Do Not Drink" advisory has been continued for the water supply in the Village of Mayville.

New York State Department of Health

A rising number of COVID-19 cases has expanded the Yellow Precautionary Zone in Niagara County and landed the City of Batavia in Genesee County in a new Yellow Zone, effective Wednesday.

MCSN Luke Cunningham / U.S. Navy Photo

Healthcare workers across the country started receiving COVID-19 vaccinations Monday. When can that be expected to happen in Western New York?

Doug Ford / Twitter

The first vaccine shots have been administered for COVID-19 in Ontario. The shots came a day ahead of schedule, but the province’s top doctor is warning the fight is far from over.

Office of the Governor

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned Monday that the state is headed for another lockdown if the rising coronavirus infection rate doesn’t slow.

Statewide COVID positivity rate at 4.96%, WNY at 6.94%

Dec 14, 2020
Office of the Governor

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said all the experts predicted COVID-19 cases would rise in the fall and winter, and that is exactly what is happening. In his Sunday briefing, Cuomo reported the statewide positivity rate is now just under 5%, another 106 New Yorkers have died from the virus and more than 5,400 people are currently hospitalized.

Mayville issues 'Do Not Drink the Water' alert

Dec 11, 2020
Chautauqua County Health Department

The New York State Health Department is recommending Mayville residents not use the water there for drinking, cooking, food preparation, tooth brushing or animal consumption until further notice. Officials said toxic levels of the chemical PFNA were found in the town's three wells late Thursday.

James Malatras says he is "on a good path of getting a lot of good things done," but he gives himself a grade of "Incomplete" as he approaches the end of his first semester as SUNY chancellor.

FDA.gov / FDA

Western New York is expected to see its first shipment of the coronavirus vaccine arrive this weekend.

Karen Dewitt/file photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday offered more details of New York’s COVID-19 vaccination program, saying he expects a state panel to approve the first round of shots by this Friday.

Thomas O'Neil-White

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the a COVID-19 vaccine could be ready and available in the state as soon as this weekend.

Google Maps

Three local businesses are among 36 bars and restaurants across New York State that have had their liquor license suspended because of COVID-19 violations.

Christine Ellicott / Twitter

Ontario’s health minister says vaccines in Ontario won’t be mandatory, but those who refuse to be immunized will face some restrictions.

New York state is operating under a new set of metrics to determine pandemic-related shutdowns. But some, including restaurant owners, are finding Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new criteria difficult to decipher, and worry it will mean more eateries will soon be out of business.

Office of the Governor

New York state could place new limits on indoor dining if hospitalization rates from COVID-19 don’t stabilize over the next five days, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday, marking another phase in the latest surge of the virus.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo had some good news...and some bad news...about COVID-19 Sunday.

Tougher COVID-19 restrictions come into effect Monday in three regions of Ontario. They come as the province broke through another record over the weekend for the number of daily cases.

Karen Dewitt / WBFO Albany Correspondent

Restaurants in New York are facing a dire winter, now that cold weather has ended most outdoor dining and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has placed further restrictions on indoor dining as COVID-19 rates rise.

One of those restaurants is the Savoy Taproom in Albany, which has been in business since 1936. It was known as Justin’s for many years and has long been a gathering place for some state lawmakers, their staff and lobbyists. That was back when the Senate and Assembly used to actually meet in person, before the pandemic.

Office of the Governor

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that he’s on board with a proposal from Democrats in Congress to offer partial relief for states whose economies have been harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but he said it would only be a stopgap measure.

New York State Department of Health

Mark Poloncarz and Stefan Mychajliw are at it again. This time, Poloncarz - the current Democratic County Executive and former County Comptroller - and Mychajliw - the current Republican County Comptroller - are at odds about fines levied against businesses for violating state COVID-19 health and safety mandates.

Office of the Governor

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that New York will receive 170,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 15, and front-line health care workers and nursing home residents will be among the first to receive it.

Stefan Mychajliw / Twitter

The Erie County Comptroller announced he is changing the rules for collecting all COVID-related fines.

ConnectLife makes 'urgent plea' for blood donors

Dec 2, 2020

As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to soar across Western New York, ConnectLife is making an urgent plea for blood donations.

Erie Couny Department of Health

Erie County's COVID-19 numbers continue to get worse and more people are dying: 11 on Saturday. Even so, County Executive Mark Poloncarz told his afternoon briefing Mondday he isn't sure the county or other counties with bad virus numbers are going to go into the Red Zone.

Office of the Governor

With New York state’s rate of COVID-19 infection above 4% for the second day in a row, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced new emergency hospital rules to prevent the state’s health care system from being overwhelmed.

The Niagara County Department of Social Services has confirmed about a dozen COVID-19 positive tests among DSS employees in Niagara Falls. More tests are still pending.

Oishei Children's Hospital

Kaleida Health has raised the age limit to 25 for patients at Oishei Children's Hospital so younger patients can come across the bridge and free up beds at Buffalo General Medical Center.

The Erie County Sheriff's Office said 27 inmates within a specific housing area at its Alden Correctional Facility have tested positive for COVID-19.