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

Erie County could be locked down by Albany again, as early as Wednesday, as its latest COVID-19 cases are well above the levels for "red" status.

Office of the Governor

Gov. Andrew Cuomo intensified restrictions in several parts of New York on Monday as the coronavirus infection rate climbs. He also delivered a stern warning to New Yorkers who are tempted to break the rules during the holiday season, saying careless behavior will lead to more deaths.

Paul Vernon / Associated Press

The COVID-19 pandemic is again starting to discourage parents from bringing their kids in for the routine vaccinations of childhood.

Doug Ford / Twitter

People in part of Ontario’s most populous region are waking up Monday with a new reality due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Friday, Premier Doug Ford announced that the City of Toronto and Region of Peel, just to its west, would go into lockdown for 28 days.

Office of the Governor

As the Thanksgiving holiday week begins, New York State officials are recommending that dinners and other gatherings of family and friends be limited or even cancelled, to prevent a further rise in COVID-19 transmission.

Why is NY's health care still gender biased?

Nov 23, 2020
Commonwealth Fund

New York likes to think of itself as one of America's most progressive states and in many ways it is. Our healthcare system, for example, is among the best in the nation. So why, in 2020, does it still suffer from gender bias? WBFO's Marian Hetherly took a look.

Kyle S. Mackie/WBFO News

From Buffalo to Stony Brook and New Paltz to Plattsburgh, the State University of New York system has spent the last 10 days before Thanksgiving testing all students using any on-campus facilities this semester for COVID-19. WBFO’s Kyle Mackie reports on the all-hands-on-deck effort aimed at controlling the spread of the novel coronavirus this holiday season.

Doug Ford / Twitter

Ontario’s healthcare community is raising concerns about the soaring number of COVID-19 cases across the province. This comes as a key threshold is nearing, that will make it more difficult for hospitals to provide surgeries.

National Federation of Independent Businesses

As the coronavirus infection rate climbed higher in New York State, new microcluster zones were announced this week in New York and some existing ones were intensified. A business group is asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to stick to that approach of limited closures, saying they won’t survive a complete economic shutdown.

Local Honey Beauty Hive Instagram / Local Honey Beauty Hive

Salons in the state-designated COVID microcluster Orange Zone in Erie County are among personal care businesses whose doors will be closed Friday morning. For at least one local business, it’s lead to booming demand and an uncertain future.

New York State

Erie County's new orange COVID-19 status means changes for a variety of places. Here are a few:

Office of the Governor

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared more regions as microcluster coronavirus hot zones as the rate of COVID-19 continues to climb in New York.

Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

As highly anticipated, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that portions of Erie County that were previously under COVID yellow zone status have been elevated to orange, while the remaining portions of the county have now entered the lowest-level color code.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Chautauqua County is carefully watching what Gov. Andrew Cuomo does today about the spike in COVID-19 cases in the Western New York region. Chautauqua has a positivity rate less than a quarter of Erie County's rate.

East Aurora Schools going to remote-only learning

Nov 17, 2020
East Aurora Schools

East Aurora Schools are going remote-only for two weeks, beginning Monday. In a letter to families, Superintendent Brian Russ says the current plan is to resume hybrid learning on Dec. 7.

Niagara County Department of Health

Niagara County is among the areas dealing with the ever-rising toll of COVID-19 while planning for mass vaccinations once Washington approves one or more vaccines against the virus.

Office of the Erie County Executive

There was no decision made by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Monday whether the portion of Erie County already in a COVID "yellow zone" may soon move to orange or red restrictions. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said he expected to hear from Albany soon, while admitting the rising case numbers are discouraging.

Office of the Governor

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a speech at a Black church in Manhattan, vowed to sue the administration of President Donald Trump for violating the constitutional rights of African American and Hispanic New Yorkers, if it does not make changes to its COVID-19 vaccination plan.

President Donald Trump said Friday that the federal government will delay delivery of a COVID-19 vaccine to New York state because of critical comments made by Gov. Andrew Cuomo about the federal plan for distributing that inoculation.

Doug Ford / Twitter

Ontario has again shattered its record for the number of daily new cases of the coronavirus, posting 1,575 cases on Thursday. New modeling suggests the province could see explosive growth as it continues into the second wave of the pandemic.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

While a lot of people are becoming ill — and sometimes very ill — from COVID-19, it continues to disproportionately hit minority groups, many of whom fall into the "essential worker" category, which means they have to go to work in reality, not virtually.

Douglas Levere / University at Buffalo

Around the world, perhaps 1 billion people are afflicted with neglected infectious diseases. A team from the University at Buffalo is working with scientists from a series of poor countries and a Spanish pharmaceutical company to change some of that.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said the city is pushing back as hard as it can against the COVID-19 virus, pushing to keep Albany from coming in and tightening the regulatory screws even more than it did Monday, when most of Erie County went into the yellow zone.

University at Buffalo

University at Buffalo researchers are working on a national study of a medication to protect the health of peoplewho come in close contact with someone with COVID-19.

Eileen Buckley / WBFO News

The State University of New York is requiring every student to be tested for COVID-19 before they leave for Thanksgiving and tested again when they want to come back on campus for the spring semester. What happens when students are in class after Thanksgiving?

Niagara County on Monday morning reported 151 new cases of COVID-19 since the previous update Friday morning.

Jason Erick / Fredonia Beaver Club

Health officials in Chautauqua County have reported seven new positive coronavirus infections that are linked to a social club in the northern part of the county.

frankieleon / Creative Commons

The joys of Thanksgiving and Christmas are looking dim right now, as the COVID-19 situation gets worse. Gov. Andrew Cuomo will say Monday if the lid is coming down again on parts of the community which have rapidly rising COVID totals.

File Photo / WBFO News

With the bar and restaurant business struggling in the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Buffalo is moving to continue a major assistance program started when the economy fell apart this spring.

Erie Couny Department of Health

Erie County's COVID-19 rate is rising sharply and so is the death toll, as the latest tests show a 5% positivity rate and an 80% increase in just the past week.