Afternoon News Brief
Written by Doug Thompson on April 14, 2022
According to the New York State Department of Health, there has been an increase of influenza cases in the GLOW region. For the week ending April 2, there were 47 lab-confirmed cases. This is the highest total for a single week since the end of December. Local health officials recommend continuing to follow universal precautions, like staying home when sick. It’s also not too late to get a flu shot; however, the earlier in the season you get it, the better you’re protected from serious illness.
Cost estimates for Phase 3 of Genesee County’s water project is going to be more costly than originally expected. County manager Matt Landers reported that he and Highway Superintendent Tim Hens received an estimate of projected cost from CPL, the firm involved in engineering the water project. In a few years when Phase 3 starts, the cost could be around $135,000,000. With Phase 3 still in design, Landers said the county would look for funding sources using lobbyists at the federal and state level.
Governor Hochul says she hasn’t made a decision yet on who is going to be the state’s next Lieutenant Governor. Brian Benjamin resigned from the position Tuesday shortly after he pleaded not guilty in court to bribery and fraud related charges. During an interview yesterday with Brian Lehrer on WNYC, a public radio station, Governor Hochul said Benjamin’s arrest came as a surprise to her and called the corruption allegations he’s facing disappointing. Right now, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins is serving in an acting capacity as Lieutenant Governor. And during the same interview, Governor Hochul revealed that the Buffalo Bills were considering moving to another city outside of New York. This was in response to a question about why the state would use public funds to build the new stadium. Hochul noted she was aware of other cities that had lost teams reaching out to the Bills and if a new stadium didn’t come to fruition here, the team had other options out of state.
The Buffalo Sabres are kicking off a brief 2 game home stand tonight as they look to pick up their second win in a row. The Sabres will be hosting the Saint Louis Blues at KeyBank Center. Buffalo is coming off of a 5-2 road victory Tuesday night over the Toronto Maple Leafs. This evening’s contest will be the first time Owen Power, who was the first-round pick of the Sabres in last year’s NHL Draft, plays in front of the home crowd. Face-off is scheduled for 7:00.
One of the early signature rides at Six Flags Darien Lake is being dismantled this week nearly 40 years after its debut. The Giant Wheel has been a fixture at the center of the park since 1983, and it was retired last year. In recent days crews have begun removing the Ferris wheel in pieces. A spokesperson for Six Flags shared that the ride had reached the end of its useful life and they’re considering options to replace it. The Giant Wheel opened at Darien Lake in 1983, arriving one year after the debut of the park’s first roller coaster, The Viper. The attraction was a key piece of the park’s growth from its origins as a campground with rides and water slides into a full-fledge theme park and one of region’s most-visited attractions.
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets today announced that it has issued an order to ban all fowl auctions and other events for the purchase, sale, swap, or trade of fowl in New York State to help prevent the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the state’s poultry population. This order expands on the Department’s March ban of fowl shows and exhibitions and is consistent with several additional states have taken the step to ban poultry exhibitions and/or gatherings of poultry. To date, eight flocks in New York State have tested positive for the so-called bird flu. The current strains are not a threat to humans.
The Department encourages all poultry producers, from small backyard to large commercial operations, to review their biosecurity plans and take precautions to protect their birds. Poultry biosecurity materials and checklists can be found on the USDA’s “Defend the Flock” website. Best practices include:
• Discourage unnecessary visitors and use biosecurity signs to warn people not to enter buildings without permission.
• Ask all visitors if they have had any contact with any birds in the past five days.
• Forbid entry to employees and visitors who own any kind of fowl.
• Require all visitors to cover and disinfect all footwear.
• Lock all entrances to chicken houses after hours.
• Avoid non-essential vehicular traffic on-farm.
• After hauling birds to processors, clean and disinfect poultry transport coops and vehicles before they return to the farm.
• Report anything unusual, especially sick or dead birds, to AGM.
To report sick birds, unexplained high number of deaths, or sudden drop in egg production, please contact the Department’s Division of Animal Industry at (518) 457-3502 or the USDA at (866) 536-7593.
Some brand new data shows the spread of COVID-19 is on the rise once again in Erie County. The Department of Health says over the past week, there have been nearly 21-hundred new cases reported. Officials believe the recent increase is due to a highly contagious omicron sub-variant that has been making people sick across Upstate New York. The state health department said yesterday everyone should take the proper steps to protect themselves against the virus. They include getting vaccinated, receiving a booster shot, and also wearing a mask indoors. Monroe County officials say a highly contagious omicron sub-variant is driving the latest increase in COVID-19 infections. There were 695 additional cases reported yesterday which is 100 fewer than on Monday. Hospitalizations due to the illness are rising in the Finger Lakes region with 169 people currently being treated for the illness and 16 of those patients in intensive care. Experts say the best way for people to protect themselves from getting sick is to be vaccinated, get a booster shot if they’re eligible, and to consider wearing a mask indoors.