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.

   

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A spike in the number of coronavirus cases in Ontario is leading some experts to say the province is close to a second wave of the pandemic. The upward trend began more than a week ago and the Ontario government is scrambling to introduce measures to combat the spread, including hefty fines for people who refuse to follow the health guidelines.

New York State Department of Health

COVID-19 cases continue to pile up in Erie County and the death toll continues to rise, with seven county residents dying in just the last week, mostly in nursing homes. That brings the death toll since the pandemic began to 689.

Left and right: Kyle S. Mackie/WBFO News; Center: Courtesy of Fajri Ansari

Black residents account for 16.5% Erie County’s COVID-19 deaths despite making up 14.6% of the county’s population, according to the Erie County Department of Health. Today on “The Toll,” Black community leaders discuss the virus’ disproportionate impact on people of color in Buffalo.


Orchard Park Middle School reports a coronavirus case

Sep 16, 2020
Google Maps

Orchard Park Schools have notified families that "an individual" at its Middle School has tested positive for COVID-19.

Eileen Buckley / WBFO News

Bottled water is being distributed in Fredonia, as a state of emergency continues due to problems with the village's water system.

Office of the Governor

New York State is considering the possibility of making the flu vaccine mandatory for students attending school this year for in-person learning, state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said Thursday, as public health officials urge the public to get vaccinated for the disease.

Mark Poloncarz / Facebook

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is pleading with young people to behave themselves, because too many of them are getting COVID-19.

Courtesy of Lori and Gary Gniewecki

With more than 10,390 positive cases of COVID-19 to date, according to state data, Erie County has the highest number of virus infections in all of upstate and Western New York. Today on “The Toll,” a South Cheektowaga couple recounts how they overcame the virus together but apart.


Hamburg Gaming

The door of New York's economy creaks open a little more Wednesday, with non-Indian gambling slowing starting up again under new state rules.

No more reopening in Ontario for another 28 days

Sep 9, 2020
File Photo / WBFO News

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the province is putting the brakes on its reopening plans until October. The announcement comes after officials announced a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases over the long weekend.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Around 1,300 Williamsville Central Schools students had no classwork Tuesday and won't have classwork Wednesday. Superintendent Scott Martzloff was effectively fired from his $236,000 job Monday over a rocky restart of the school year. However, the new acting superintendent said there will be a plan soon.

Buffalo Automation

A major sign of COVID-19 is a noticeable fever, but current devices - like a temperature gun - can be erratic or slow. Now a local start-up company has a way of spotting people with a fever in a crowd.

Pat Bradley / WAMC News

The State University of New York is pushing hard against the coronavirus, with a massive increase in testing using tests newly developed by SUNY Upstate.

Chautauqua County leaders are urging the public to avoid large gatherings this Labor Day holiday weekend, while offering mixed news on COVID cases in two of the county's known clusters.

More harsh warnings to students, as hundreds of COVID-19 cases close down a SUNY campus for the semester.

Erie County Department of Health

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is urging citizens to step up and follow the rules to prevent the COVID-19 rate from getting worse than it is.

Chadwick Boseman / Twitter

The death of actor Chadwick Boseman last week from colon cancer at the age of 43 is focusing attention on the increasing number of younger victims of the disease.

Office of the Governor

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU patients have dropped to new lows statewide.

University at Buffalo

Over the weekend, the State University of New York at Oneonta became the first in the 64-campus system to shut down in-person classes for two weeks after a coronavirus outbreak. State and college officials are trying to prevent that closure from becoming a trend.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul / Twitter

The most recent COVID numbers highlight a troubling infection trend in this region. On Saturday, the positive rate was 1.6%, more than twice as high as the state's overall rate. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul believes the eight testing sites set up in this area by the state will work to get things under control. 


Facebook/Chautauqua County

Chautauqua County leaders say more than half of the employees of a Dunkirk food production facility were tested earlier this week for COVID, with 24 results coming back positive. Officials also explained why they have deemed it unnecessary to close the plant at this time.

Carlos Osorio / AP Photo

COVID-19 infection rates have reached 2% in the five Western New York coronavirus counties. "That's not good news," according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and it has prompted "a caution flag" for the region.

In response, the governor said the state is sending a state Health Department SWAT team to the region to establish eight new testing sites with 50 machines that will provide quick results.

Eileen Buckley / WBFO News

You may have to wait another day to get a book from the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, because that beach read you want is still in quarantine. The concern is a returned book might carry the coronavirus.

Eileen Buckley / WBFO News

The Ontario government has unveiled its plan for how it will handle a possible COVID-19 outbreak in schools. Premier Doug Ford said his government is prepared to do whatever it takes to protect children.

Erie County

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says hundreds of gyms, fitness centers and other operations are in danger of being shut down because they didn't follow the rules related to COVID-19.

Office of the President

Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls changes in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that ease testing standards for Americans exposed to someone with COVID-19 “political propaganda” and says he won’t follow them.

Left: Courtesy of Kate Glaser/Sarah Bridgeman Photography; Right: Courtesy of Kate Glaser

Similar to older adults and people with underlying medical conditions, pregnant people face a greater risk for severe illness from COVID-19 than the general public. This week on “The Toll,” WBFO’s Kyle Mackie reports the story of an Amherst woman who contracted COVID-19 during her last week of pregnancy earlier this summer.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that there won’t be any high school football games, wrestling matches or ice hockey contests this fall. The governor did issue new guidelines to phase in matches for other types of school sports, however.

Wells Enterprises

Chautauqua County officials say there is a COVID-19 hot spot at a Dunkirk ice cream plant, with 22 new cases and more expected in an all-out push to test everyone connected with Fieldbrook Foods.

Oishei Children's Hospital

Childhood obesity is a national crisis. Being grossly overweight leads to other health issues. A program at Oishei Children's Hospital is addressing the crisis with counseling and bariatric stomach surgery.

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