Morning News Briefing

Written by on December 11, 2020

COVID cases continue to rise in Genesee County. On Thursday, the health department reported 23 new cases. The latest infections involve residents of Batavia, Le Roy and five other communities. One of the new cases is a resident is at the VA Medical Center. Right now, 21 people are hospitalized and receiving care. Thirty new cases have been confirmed in Orleans County with five people in the hospital. Wyoming County health officials say that on Thursday, 27 new cases were confirmed.

A federal grand jury has returned a 74-count indictment charging 42-year-old Philip M. Close of Rochester with 61 counts of production of child pornography, and 13 counts of possession of material containing child pornography involving prepubescent minors. Close is a music teacher. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison, a maximum of life in prison, and a $250,000 fine. Close will be arraigned Monday.

A free virtual Opioid Overdose Reversal Training session will be held starting at 2 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 15. This opportunity is sponsored by the Western New York Rural Area Health Education Center in collaboration with Spectrum Health and Human Services. You’ll learn how to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose and correctly administer the spray form of naloxone (Narcan). A free reversal kit will be mailed to you upon completion of training. To learn more, visit the WNY Rural Area Health Education Center website. Call Lisa Green to register at (585) 786-6275.

Southern Tier Congressman Tom Reed and 31 other House GOP members have joined together in a letter requesting congressional leadership in both chambers guarantee a vote on emergency relief will be held and noting the importance of a bipartisan, bicameral package. The Members say they agree Congress must pass an emergency COVID-19 relief package before the end of the year. The letter concludes with saying…” We cannot leave Washington without reaching a bipartisan deal.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to adjust the state’s COVID strategy during a briefing this morning. But even people in touch with the governor’s office on a regular basis aren’t sure what he’s going to do. Cuomo could be rethinking the whole micro-cluster zone idea – or could at least remove some restrictions within those zones. The governor has emphasized hospital capacity as a metric he will be watching closely, and if that’s the case, there is some better news for the Finger Lakes region. Fifty-six percent of intensive care beds are still available. That’s the highest number of any region in the state.

A new ultra-cold storage freezer at the University of Rochester Medical Center is ready and waiting to store the first vaccine doses. Infectious disease doctors at the hospital called the vaccine safe during a virtual meeting Thursday, but noted the research so far has only been able to look at short-term side effects. The phase three study will continue for two years.

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