NORWICH (WBNG) — It’s been more than a year since Chenango County rolled out the ability to text 911 in the event of an emergency. Now, they’re saying the texting feature has been successful, and they have other ideas to make calling 911 more efficient. “Call 911 if you can, text if you can’t,” said Jones. Chenango County dispatch only received 32 emergency reports via text message over the course of one year. Despite the lack of texts, officials say the service is working just as it should. To combat this, Chenango County is introducing a solution to help both caller and dispatcher. While the texting feature is a high tech addition, officials say there are still a few drawbacks. “Overall, it is working well for us, we’re getting the expected response from it, which is very low, believe it or not, it’s actually a good thing,” said A. Wesley Jones, chief dispatcher for Chenango County. “Don’t use abbreviations, just talk in a normal conversation, give us all the info we can. It does take a lot longer to process those calls than it would a voice call, which is why it should only be used in certain situations,” said Jones. According to dispatch officials, you should only text 911 if you have a disability or if you feel your life is threatened by making a phone call. “We have a system called smart911.com. People can go on there and create a profile, and when they do that, we already have their information they want us to know. Where they live, what their ailment might be, whatever the case might be, and then we can use that information to speed the call up,” said Jones. If you’d like to signup for smart911, head over to the website.
(WBNG) – A few days after Governor Andrew Cuomo gave veterinary practices in New York State the green light to start re-opening more fully, veterinarians here in the Southern Tier are making sure they have all their safety protocols. “We also have implemented a medication pick-up window for clients so that they necessarily don’t have to come into the building,” said Dr. Sara Shafer, an associate veterinarian. “These are trying times and we’re all doing our very best.” These guidelines include limiting clients in the building, screening staff and clients upon arrival, logging cleaning routines, and enforcing social distancing. Dr. Shafer said the practice will start taking appointments like wellness check-ups, rather than solely focusing on emergency services which they and many other practices had previously done before Cuomo’s announcement. Veterinary care was considered an essential service in the state during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many practices across the state have been operating curbside care, which allows doctors to treats pets while limiting the number of people inside the building. Dr. Diane Wittner is the co-owner of Fur and Feathers Veterinary care, and told 12 News the practice is closely following guidelines listed under the New York State Forward plan. Some pet owners, like Blake McCabe, have expressed their desire to get back to in-person vet visits. Over in Vestal, the Vestal Veterinary Hospital is taking similar measures to enforce a safe experience. “We live with our animals so we obviously have a better understanding of the nuances of their behavior,” McCabe said. “People always talk about stressed an animal gets when they go to the vet, how they don’t want to go. The owners get stressed, too.” Dr. Wittner told 12 News there is no exact time frame to when her practice will allow regular walk-ins to Fur and Feathers, choosing to take it one day at a time.
Officials say Wednesday that the Justice Department’s civil rights division is evaluating whether to initiate investigations under a federal law that protects the rights of people in state-run nursing homes and other facilities. Prosecutors are trying to determine whether state orders requiring admission of COVID-19 patients to nursing homes could have led to deaths. The letters were sent Wednesday to Governor Andrew Cuomo and the governors of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan. WASHINGTON (AP) – The Justice Department is seeking data from the governors of four states about “orders which may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents.”