The Coronavirus Crisis

The coronavirus global pandemic is disrupting lives in Rochester, across the nation and around the world. We are working hard to provide accurate, in-depth information on COVID-19 and its impact on our community. This page will be updated each time the Beacon posts a new content on the pandemic.

Safe to return?
By SMRITI JACOB | August 18, 2020
College faculty and students are coming back to campus to begin a fall semester clouded by apprehension over COVID-19. Read the story.

A boost for basic needs providers
By SMRITI JACOB | August 18, 2020
ESL Charitable Foundation’s $4 million grant to the United Way will support 20 local health and human services agencies. Read the story.

Why Rochester’s economy remains at risk
By PAUL ERICSON | August 17, 2020
Our region has sharply reduced the COVID-19 risk level here. But the local economy is vulnerable to numerous factors beyond the region’s control. Read the story.

Eastview navigates the pandemic
By WILL ASTOR | August 14, 2020
The Ontario County mall has resolved some issues raised by a rating agency but faces future challenges. Read the story.

A political leader put to the test
By MIKE COSTANZA | August 14, 2020
For Monroe County GOP chair Bill Napier, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed nearly everything but his mission: to guide his party’s resurgence at the polls in November. Read the story.

Courts could face avalanche of eviction cases
By VANESSA J. CHEEKS | August 10, 2020
With a statewide moratorium set to expire in less than a month, tenants who have been financially impacted by the pandemic are at increased risk. A right-to-counsel program could get legal aid to renters facing eviction. Read the story.

Pandemic reveals strains in higher education, panelists say
By WILL ASTOR | August 7, 2020
College leaders taking part in a Rochester Beacon-Upstate Venture Connect webinar say institutions need to rethink their revenue sources. Read the story.

Is this RealEats’ time?
By SMRITI JACOB | August 6, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic is driving growth for the fledgling, subscription-based business in Geneva, which delivers healthy, farm-to-table, ready-to-eat food. Read the story.

Finding opportunity amid the pandemic
By ANDREW LaMANNA | August 5, 2020
Our region’s businesses could have a competitive edge in the new environment. Read the story.

Why 540WMain decided to go virtual
By SMRITI JACOB | August 4, 2020
Freed from the burden of managing physical space, the antiracist education organization has been able to expand its work, says Calvin Eaton, founder and director. Read the story.

Back to school in the pandemic era
By NIPA ARMBRUSTER | July 31, 2020
Parents are waiting for a final decision on reopening so they can start preparing their children and households for a school experience unlike any they have ever had. Read the story.

Regional task force helps guide school reopening plans
By WILL ASTOR | July 31, 2020
Convened by Common Ground Health, the group includes school leaders, local government officials, health care and public health experts, nonprofits and parents from 13 counties. Read the story.

Rochester at the forefront of vaccine trials
By SMRITI JACOB | July 29, 2020
The University of Rochester Medical Center and Rochester Regional Health are joining a Phase III clinical trial for a vaccine candidate developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. Read the story.

Luminate pivots amid the pandemic
By SMRITI JACOB | July 28, 2020
Organizers of the startup accelerator focused on advancing next-generation optics, photonics and imaging-enabled companies have been retooling to meet a new reality. One change: The 2020 Luminate NY Finals will be held online. Read the story.

Are COVID-19 tests available to everyone?
By WILL ASTOR | July 24, 2020
Testing is not necessarily available on demand. And for those who are tested, Monroe County Health Commissioner Michael Mendoza M.D. warns of “a significant false negative rate.” Read the story.

COVID’s mental health toll
By MIKE COSTANZA | July 23, 2020
The pandemic has brought an increase in the number of individuals suffering from anxiety and depression. Those already diagnosed with other mental health issues appear to be more vulnerable to these disorders. Read the story.

Education leaders to take part in online event
By ROCHESTER BEACON | July 23, 2020
In the third in a series of online forums presented by the Rochester Beacon and Upstate Venture Connect, St. John Fisher College president Gerard Rooney and two upstate peers will discuss how they are managing their institutions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the story.

Two UR researchers receive federal grants
By SMRITI JACOB | July 22, 2020
Biologists Dragony Fu and Jack Werren will study how the coronavirus interacts with proteins in human cells. The work could help in the development of effective treatments and vaccines. Read the story.

‘These dead shall not have died in vain’: COVID’s Gettysburg moment
By MICHAEL J. BROWN | July 21, 2020
Those who have perished from the coronavirus cannot determine what their deaths will mean for the nation; it is, as it was amid the Civil War, for us to decide. Read the story.

White House backs down, removing threat to foreign students
By SMRITI JACOB | July 15, 2020
The move means international students in Rochester and around the country will not face loss of their lawful status if they attend online-only classes this fall. Read the story.

Health care leaders share their Covid-19 outlook
By WILL ASTOR | July 10, 2020
In an online forum presented by the Rochester Beacon and Upstate Venture Connect, URMC CEO Mark Taubman and two other upstate CEOs say their systems adapted quickly and efficiently but remain financially at risk. Read the story.

Virus takes heavy human, financial toll on long-term care providers
By GLEN COOPER | July 10, 2020
The facilities are committed to mitigating the spread of COVID-19, but the governor’s executive order mandating testing has brought increased costs significantly. Read the story.

Escape from (and to) New York
By KENT GARDNER | July 7, 2020
During a two-week trip to Austin, Texas, the daily COVID-19 infection rates here and there changed dramatically. Texas and many other states are now learning lessons that New York had to face earlier. Read the story.

Let’s commit to a future that includes telemedicine
By SAMRA BROUK | July 6, 2020
The pandemic has shown that widespread virtual health care is possible. What’s unclear is whether telemedicine offerings will be available and accessible long-term. Read the story.

The millennials’ pandemic
By ROBERT MANTELL | July 2, 2020
Young professionals, some of whom thought the coronavirus wouldn’t affect their lives, are quickly learning that they, too, are vulnerable. They are learning to cope with social isolation and economic uncertainty. Read the story.

How vulnerable are Rochester’s hospitals?
By WILL ASTOR | June 30, 2020
COVID-19 poses a severe threat to hospitals nationwide. Each institution’s financial health before the virus struck could be a big factor in its ability to recover from the pandemic. Read the story.

What SEC filings reveal about the pandemic
By PAUL ERICSON | June 26, 2020
While some publicly held companies in Rochester have suffered less financial impact due to COVID-19 than others, none have been immune. Read the story.

Another COVID crisis
By WILL ASTOR | June 25, 2020
For hospitals in the Rochester region and across the country, the pandemic has upended their business model and called their financial future into question. Read the story.

Health care executives slated for online forum
By SMRITI JACOB | June 25, 2020
Mark Taubman M.D., CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center, and three others will discuss their experiences navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the story.

Trials of controversial drug scrapped
By WILL ASTOR | June 24, 2020
The University of Rochester Medical Center has canceled clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine as an anti-COVID-19 agent. Read the story.

Leading Foodlink with a sure hand
By MIKE COSTANZA | June 18, 2020
Those who know her use words like calm, empathetic and entrepreneurial to describe President and CEO Julia Tedesco, who has guided the nonprofit’s response to COVID-19. Read the story.

Before the bankruptcy storm
By WILL ASTOR | June 17, 2020
Filings in April and May dropped sharply as pandemic-related assistance kicked in, but experts say a surge almost certainly is on the horizon. Read the story.

A market without crowds
By ROBERT MANTELL | June 16, 2020
To operate amid the pandemic, the Brighton Farmers Market adopted measures to ensure social distancing and minimize patrons’ contact with products and other shoppers. Read the story.

How do we face a future with the coronavirus?
By NEIL R. SCHEIER | June 15, 2020
To those gaining COVID-related experience every day, the answer is: We need to be smart, careful and cautious. Read the story.

A bumper crop of woes
By MIKE COSTANZA | June 10, 2020
For the region’s farmers, the coronavirus pandemic has caused customers to disappear, disrupted supply networks and brought the risk of infected workers. Read the story.

Keeping seniors safe during the pandemic
By MICHELE RICHARDS | June 10, 2020
Many families are weighing whether a nursing home or senior living community is the best option for elderly parents now. Read the story.

How change creates opportunity
By ALEX ZAPESOCHNY | June 9, 2020
David Brown, who has partnered with Dennis DeLeo to launch a new venture fund in Rochester, says “it’s one of the best times in history to be starting a company.” Read the story.

County executives are upbeat on reopening
By WILL ASTOR | June 5, 2020
In a web conference presented by the Rochester Beacon and Upstate Venture Connect, Monroe County’s Adam Bello and his peers from Onondaga and Oneida counties expressed cautious optimism on the region’s economic prospects as the pandemic threat recedes. Read the story.

Initial unemployment claims drop
By PAUL ERICSON | June 5, 2020
In the week ended May 30, filings in the Rochester-Finger Lakes region fell to the lowest level since the pandemic shutdown began. Read the story.

URMC to conduct trials of controversial drug
By WILL ASTOR | June 3, 2020
The aim is to determine definitively whether hydroxychloroquine works to cure or inhibit COVID-19. Read the story.

‘Essential’ but unfunded: Why child care is collapsing
By PETE NABOZNY | May 29, 2020
Child care is primarily funded through private payments from families to those who provide care. Amid the COVID-19 crisis, many providers will need government help to stay afloat. Read the story.

Jobless rate jumps in Monroe County, region
By PAUL ERICSON | May 28, 2020
With the economy on lockdown, unemployment in April jumped to 15 percent, up from 3.7 percent a year earlier. Read the story.

Bello, two peers to discuss Covid challenges
May 28, 2020
The Rochester Beacon and Upstate Venture Connect are presenting a June 4 online discussion with the county executives from Monroe, Onondaga and Oneida counties. Read the story.

Crisis fund provides lifeline for nonprofits
By ROBERT MANTELL | May 27, 2020
The initiative launched by United Way, the Community Foundation and other partners already has disbursed nearly $1.7 million. Read the story.

COVID-19 pressures urban clinics
By MIKE COSTANZA | May 26, 2020
The pandemic has forced nonprofits that provide free or low-cost medical care to low-income residents to make dramatic changes. Read the story.

COVID-19: What we did right, where we stand, what’s next
By EMIL PATRICK LESHO | May 22, 2020
Rochester was as ready as possible for COVID-19. But the risk of a secondary surge means we must not relax precautions without adequate controls. Read the story.

Rochester-area job losses soar in April
By PAUL ERICSON | May 22, 2020
In first full month of the statewide coronavirus lockdown, the Rochester area lost roughly 20 percent of total jobs. Read the story.

Reopening alone might not bring recovery
By SMRITI JACOB AND PAUL ERICSON | May 20, 2020
A new paper co-written by a UR professor contends it’s unlikely the pandemic’s economic damage can be reversed simply by lifting stay-at-home orders. Read the story.

Bristol Harbour Resort is closing
By SMRITI JACOB | May 18, 2020
Owners Todd and Laura Cook cited the COVID-19 crisis in disclosing their plan to cease operations at the facility overlooking Canandaigua Lake. Read the story.

Mutual aid network responds to coronavirus crisis
By SMRITI JACOB | May 15, 2020
Launched in April, the effort to meet community needs is focused on “solidarity, not charity.” Read the story.

Business goes remote
By PAUL ERICSON | May 14, 2020
The pandemic lockdown has forced an unprecedented shift to working from home. For many businesses, the transition has been swift and unexpectedly smooth. Read the story.

Summer festivals? No, not this year
By NEIL R. SCHEIER | May 13, 2020
Given what we know—and still don’t know—about the coronavirus, it’s too soon for crowd-gathering events. Read the story.

COVID-19 is a practice run for climate change
By KATE KRESSMANN-KEHOE | May 12, 2020
If we learn from the first disaster, maybe we can spare ourselves from the worst consequences of the second. Read the story.

Furloughs hit UR medical center
By WILL ASTOR | May 11, 2020
Nearly one-fifth of its staff of nearly 18,000 will be idled due to revenue losses stemming from the coronavirus. Read the story.

Higher ed learns a new skill
By MIKE COSTANZA | May 7, 2020
Local college and university professors had to switch to online-only teaching when the pandemic lockdown began. For some, it was an alien instructional landscape. Read the story.

Rochester picked for vaccine clinical trial
By WILL ASTOR | May 5, 2020
The University of Rochester Medical Center and Rochester Regional Health will test the effectiveness of an experimental mRNA vaccine against COVID-19. Read the story.

UR researchers buoyed by antiviral findings
By WILL ASTOR | May 1, 2020
NIH on Thursday said early results of a study of remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19 are promising. A local trial run by a URMC team is part of the study. Read the story.

The pandemic’s toll on non-COVID care
By WILL ASTOR | April 30, 2020
A backlog of untreated and undertreated conditions awaits a medical community consumed by the coronavirus. Read the story.

Should the lockdown end now?
By PAUL ERICSON | April 29, 2020
Has New York overreacted? Is it time to end the strict measures put in place to halt the spread of COVID-19? James Ryan Jr. and Kent Gardner offer different views. Read the story.

COVID-19 underscores need for proactive care planning
By ADAM HERMAN | April 28, 2020
Would you want a ventilator if you were critically ill? It seems the answer would be obvious, but is it? Read the story.

Our challenge going forward
By DON PRYOR | April 27, 2020
When the COVID-19 pandemic recedes, will we return to our often-siloed ways? Or will we start to build bridges toward a more equitable future? Read the story.

RIT leads effort on ventilator prototype
By ROBERT MANTELL | April 24, 2020
The Golisano Institute for Sustainability, together with regional business and health care partners, acted quickly to address a looming shortage. Read the story.

The regional jobless surge ebbs
By PAUL ERICSON | April 23, 2020
New filings in the latest report were sharply lower than each of the previous three weeks—but still more than 1,000 percent higher than a year ago. Read the story.

The small business lifeline
By MIKE COSTANZA | April 23, 2020
The region’s lenders have funded hundreds of millions of dollars in coronavirus relief loans, and they are ready to do more—when the federal PPP spigot turns on again. Read the story.

COVID-19 testing clinics slated for the inner city
By WILL ASTOR | April 22, 2020
The testing and respiratory clinics will serve low-income residents, who are being disproportionately affected by the virus. Read the story.

Delivering food to the front lines
By SMRITI JACOB | April 21, 2020
A group of health care industry professionals is raising funds to provide meals to oncology clinics, emergency departments and first responders. Read the story.

Learning from the coronavirus crisis
By ERIKA ROSENBERG | April 20, 2020
Once the immediate COVID-19 threat has passed, what understanding will local leaders have gained about the functioning of key parts of government? Read the story.

Rochester’s unemployment outbreak
By PAUL ERICSON | April 16, 2020
The number of initial claims for benefits since the coronavirus lockdown began now tops 67,000—and the jobless rate has likely hit nearly 20 percent. Read the story.

A new risk for the homeless
By MIKE COSTANZA | April 16, 2020
Those housed in area shelters are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. And providers working to protect residents face their own challenges. Read the story.

Face shield effort gains steam
By WILL ASTOR | April 16, 2020
Volunteers with fast-growing Face Shields Roc are making the personal protective equipment at home on 3-D printers. Read the story.

The cost of digital disparity in a pandemic
By PAUL ERICSON | April 15, 2020
In the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, those without broadband service face an even tougher struggle. The RCSD and others are are facing the challenge directly. Read the story.

What shapes your response to coronavirus
By PETER LOVENHEIM | April 14, 2020
How we handle the pandemic owes much to attachment style, a way of responding to stress, threats to health, and separation from loved ones, that is fixed from earliest childhood. Read the story.

Reinventing education amid a crisis
By PAUL POWELL | April 13, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has forced Uncommon Schools to embrace remote learning, and it has opened the platform to other educators. Read the story.

Helping cancer patients amid the COVID-19 pandemic
By SMRITI JACOB | April 10, 2020
GRYT Health, led by a two-time cancer survivor and oncology researcher, has launched the free online Cancer and COVID Live Interactive Series. Read the story.

Recipes for survival
By ROBERT MANTELL | April 9, 2020
Local restaurants are shifting business models overnight to stay alive. Says one owner: “There’s no precedent for what we’re witnessing right now.” Read the story.

Seed funding to boost health startup
By WILL ASTOR | April 8, 2020
Heart Health Intelligence plans to use the $2.2 million to help bring to market its high-tech toilet seat. Read the story.

Countering COVID-19 at the local level
By ROBERT MANTELL | April 7, 20202
Town and village leaders are playing a key role in the response to the crisis. Read the story.

Emergency medicine providers head to NYC
By WILL ASTOR | April 6, 2020
The UR Medicine team is bound for the Northwell Health system, which includes hospitals in the city, Westchester County, Long Island and Hudson River valley. Read the story.

A sea of doors
April 6, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that did not seem possible only weeks ago. Yet it’s also a time to appreciate our blessings. Read the story.

Stop the bleeding: The CARES Act
April 3, 2020
The $2.2 trillion CARES Act applies a necessary tourniquet to stabilize the economy during the coronavirus pandemic. Read the story.

On the COVID-19 front lines
April 2, 2020
Nurses and other health care workers here are awaiting the expected surge of coronavirus cases with a mix of anxiety and resolve. Read the story.

Courts shift to videoconferencing
April 1, 2020
Attorneys laud the move, as they adjust to the slowdown in legal business. Read the story.

Where COVID-19 case and mortality rates are highest
March 30, 2020
By both yardsticks, Westchester County has suffered the most severe outbreak. The rates are much lower here. Read the story.

In chloroquine’s shadow
March 30, 2020
Antiviral remdesivir, now in clinical trials here, could be the best hope to combat COVID-19. But statements by President Trump have put the spotlight on antimalarial drugs of unproven effectiveness against the coronavirus. Read the story.

Providers equipped to tackle rising COVID-19 cases
March 27, 2020
For the next two weeks, Monroe County’s health care resources are adequate to deal with the still-growing number of coronavirus cases. After that, keeping the advance of the virus in check will depend on the success of social-distancing efforts. Read the story.

Life where the outbreak began
March 27, 2020
Longtime Rochesterian Jim Croop lives and works in China. He says shutting down the country worked to halt the spread of coronavirus. Read the story.

UR begins testing of antiviral drug
March 27, 2020
The University of Rochester Medical Center is evaluating the safety and efficacy of remdesivir in hospitalized adults diagnosed with COVID-19. Read the story.

Nursing homes’ coronavirus response
March 26, 2020
With two COVID-19 cases already identified at area skilled nursing and senior living complexes, officials have put in place tight restrictions to protect against spread of the disease among residents and staff. Read the story.

VPG Medical offers free wellness tracker
March 25, 2020
The app uses cameras embedded in smartphones and tablets to track a person’s heart rate, which can be an early indicator of a fever. Read the story.

A lifesaving lesson from 1918
March 24, 2020
As Rochester’s effective response to the Spanish flu illustrates, what we do now about COVID-19 really matters. Read the story.

A millennial takes the lead
The White House Task Force on Coronavirus recently appealed to millennials to help stop the spread of COVID-19. In Washington D.C., Param Jaggi, has taken that role seriously. Will others follow? Read the story.

Raising a glass to help displaced workers
March 20, 2020
A digital happy hour today called “Rochester Tips Back!” aims to support food and beverage service workers impacted by the coronavirus crisis. Read the story.

Rochester and the coronavirus crisis
March 19, 2020
The global COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented disruption to Rochester. Most Beacon readers, however, are optimistic about the region’s ability to respond effectively to the health and economic emergency. Read the story.

Upstate CEOs pledge to fight COVID-19
March 19, 2020
Upstate Venture Connect has formed a coalition of CEOs from emerging technology companies in the region to navigate the coronavirus crisis. These business leaders are pledging to fight the virus in their workplaces and support community efforts. Read the story.

Courts put restrictions in place
March 18, 2020
Halls of justice remain open, but officials have called a temporary halt to many proceedings. Read the story.

COVID-19 campaign raises more than $1.7 million
March 17, 2020
The funds have been donated in the 24 hours since the announcement of a collaborative effort to assist those affected by the outbreak. Read the story.

A united response to the coronavirus
March 16, 2020
Monroe County, the United Way and the Rochester Area Community Foundation are working together to address community needs stemming from the COVID-19 crisis. Read the story.

A hopeful antidote
March 5, 2020
An antiviral treatment effective against the new coronavirus could become available in as little as three months and tested on local patients even sooner. Read the story.