Morning News Brief
Written by Michael Baldwin on February 3, 2021
2020 was a slightly less hectic year for the Batavia City Fire Department. According to Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano, the total call volume for the year was down by approximately 5% as a result of the pandemic especially during the first and second quarters of the year. However, at this time, the call volume for the current year is trending higher. The Department last year handled a total of 2,264 calls for service, including 55 fires and more than 1,400 rescue and medical calls. The annual reports showed the busiest month was January and the slowest was April. Response times were under 4 minutes for 53% of the time.
New York’s statewide COVID-19 positivity rate is 5.47% and the 7-day average is 4.95%…it’s the first time since December 6th that the rate has been below 5%. Right now, in the Finger lakes Region, 539 COVID patients are hospitalized and 397 patients are in Intensive Care. 146 deaths statewide were reported.
The number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Genesee County continues to shrink. On Tuesday, the health department reported just nine new cases. The infections involved residents of Batavia, Le Roy and eight other communities. Twenty-three of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Twenty of the positive individuals are hospitalized. Orleans County reports 25 new cases with four people hospitalized. Meanwhile, Wyoming County officials reports just nine new cases.
More economic challenges in the Southern Tier…Siemen’s Energy, formerly Dresser-Rand, is expected to shutter its manufacturing operations in Olean next year. Employees were told Tuesday afternoon during a ‘Town hall’ type virtual meeting. One hundred jobs are headed out of town while another 400+ workers will be laid off. Last year, the manufacturing facility in Wellsville was shuttered by Siemen’s with the ‘office’ positions shifted to Olean, which is now in chaos.
The New York State Department of Labor has announced that it has identified over 425,000 fraudulent unemployment benefit claims during the COVID-19 pandemic, preventing fraudsters from stealing more than $5.5 billion in benefits. The Department has referred hundreds of thousands of fraud cases to federal prosecutors, and continues to work with law enforcement partners on the federal, state, and local level to hold fraudsters accountable. Since the pandemic began in March 2020, the Department of Labor has paid over $65 billion to more than 4 million New Yorkers – representing more than 30 typical years’ worth of benefits paid in just 11 months.
The New York State Department of Health is investigating the University of Rochester Medical Centers COVID-19 vaccination program. This comes after an internal email indicated people connected to the university, including donors, could be vaccinated ahead of prioritized groups at a special clinic. URMC released a statement Monday that this special clinic did not happen. However, the medical center added that 26 non-employees who received the email did get invited to a clinic meant for employees.