Today's Top Stories - Saturday, September 11th, 2021

195th COVID Death Reported in Steuben County
The Steuben County Public Health Department reports the death of an individual who had previously tested positive for COVID, bringing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in Steuben County to 195.  The victim was a male resident of the Town of Wayland who died at the age of 74. With Steuben seeing more COVID-related deaths this week than in July and August combined, Public Health Director Darlene Smith encouraged residents to  "Please follow all COVID prevention strategies for the protection of our community." Continue to monitor yourself for COVID-19 symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills or repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell and contact your healthcare provider for instructions if feeling ill.


Palmesano Says Vaccine Mandate May Create Health Worker Shortage
Assemblyman Phil Palmesano and his fellow Assembly Republican colleagues sent a letter  earlier this week to Governor Hochul and state  Health  Commissioner Howard Zucker warning of a potential workforce shortage compromising the delivery and quality of healthcare due to the state mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for all healthcare workers. A recently-implemented Department of Health (DOH) regulation requires all healthcare workers to receive their first vaccination by September 27th or lose their jobs. County leaders from Finger Lakes-area counties said that with some healthcare facilities already seeing a loss of workers, it could get significantly worse if the mandate moves forward, hurting our rural healthcare system. Palmesano said that although increasing the vaccination rate in our state remains an important priority, "enacting a state mandate that will lead to a significant loss of healthcare workers creating a workforce shortage crisis in an already overly-stressed profession is counterproductive. It will compromise the delivery and quality of healthcare services in communities around the state, especially during these challenging times when we need it most." 


Local Observances of 9/11 Today on Its 20th Anniversary

To honor the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks today, the VA Finger Lakes Healthcare System hosts a region-wide effort, where community members will fly the American Flag. Employees from the State Department of Transportation will line State Route 415 and 352 between Bath National Cemetery and Woodlawn National Cemeteries. Police, fire departments, churches, community organizations, and businesses are being asked to join the memorial by hanging their flags, ringing their bells, and sounding their sirens at 10:03 a.m. to commemorate the time of the last plane crash on September 11th, 2001. Prattsburgh Park also holds a ceremony honoring the 20th anniversary of September 11th that begins at 8:40am.

Those interested in participating in the Flag Line contact Linda.Conway@redcross.org or call (607) 769-6552 to sign up.


USPS Prices See Hike
During the pandemic as well as last year’s holiday season, the USPS faced many issues and are now increasing prices for their most dominant products. According to stamps.com, rates were increased for First Class Mail letters, postcards, and other services as of August 29th. The spike in first class mail ranges from $0.02 to $0.20 while certified mail, signature confirmation, and return receipt will increase by $0.10-$0.85. Weight-based Media Mail will increase by $0.30-$0.93. Competitive products that won’t see a price hike include First Class Package and Priority Mail. The USPS says these are subject to change and more information is expected to be released.

MESSNY Wants Doctors To Be Able to Vaccinate Patients In-Office
Though New York state doctors organization The Medical Society of the State of New York (MESSNY) supports President Biden’s mandate to increase vaccinations, the group says more needs to be done. MESSNY has asked the federal government to make it so individual doctors could give the vaccines in their offices to further expand accessibility.

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