WEOS Finger Lakes Public Radio

Brett Dahlberg

Brett is the health reporter and a producer at WXXI News. He has a master’s degree from the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism and before landing at WXXI, he was an intern at WNYC and with Ian Urbina of the New York Times. He also produced freelance reporting work focused on health and science in New York City.
Brett grew up in Bremerton, Washington, and holds a bachelor’s degree from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.

The Monroe County health department announced that a patient at Rochester General Hospital has died from COVID-19.

The is the first known local death caused by the coronavirus.

Veronica Chiesi Brown, a spokesperson for Rochester Regional Health, said the patient was an employee at Rochester General Hospital. The company described him as a 54-year-old man with "multiple, serious underlying conditions" including hypertension, liver disease and tobacco use.

The Trump administration has decided to cut federal support for local programs that have been testing a new model of funding medical care.

The programs, which exist across the state and are overseen locally by the Finger Lakes Performing Provider System, have been working on a shift from the traditional fee-for-service model to a value-based model.

In the fee-for-service model, which underlies Medicaid, health care providers tell the federal government what procedures they did and what medicines they used, and the government reimburses them. Critics say this prioritizes quantity of care over quality of care.

New York state has confirmed its first case of novel coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday night.

The case is in a woman in her mid-30s who contracted the virus while traveling in Iran, the governor said.

The state health department said the woman is in Manhattan. She has the respiratory symptoms associated with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, but "is not in serious condition," Cuomo said.

One person in Monroe County is under “voluntary quarantine” for novel coronavirus surveillance after returning from China, public health commissioner Michael Mendoza said Tuesday.

The person has not shown any symptoms, but entered quarantine at home after arriving in Monroe County on Saturday.

Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center have received a $6.7 million federal grant to study how to reduce the toll of the opioid epidemic in rural Appalachian counties.

Rochester Drug Cooperative, which has paid millions of dollars to settle federal charges connected to opioid trafficking, said Tuesday that it will no longer sell any controlled substances.

There's something unusual in this year's flu season. Influenza A, the strain of the virus that's typically most common at this point in the year, is instead proving rare in the Rochester area, and influenza B, which often waits for later months to strike, is responsible for the vast majority of recent cases. 

In Monroe County, influenza B comprises more than 80% of the confirmed cases this flu season.

A pharmaceutical research company based in Rochester has received two grants in the last month to study an experimental treatment to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Vaccinex CEO Maurice Zauderer said current treatments for Alzheimer’s focus on managing symptoms. He said his company’s product, a drug called Pepinemab, aims to stop the disease from developing.

As the number of new HIV cases in New York continues to fall, a report from the pharmaceutical company Merck has found that stigma toward the infection in younger generations is growing. 

More than a quarter of HIV-negative millennials have avoided hugging, talking to, or being friends with someone with HIV. Almost a third said they would prefer not to interact socially with someone with HIV, Merck found in a survey of nearly 1,600 Americans between the ages of 18 and 36.