Nuns in congregate settings should be high priority

By Bee Group Newspapers | on March 11, 2021 Frank J. Todaro

As it’s been almost exactly one year since the pandemic began surfacing in our community, many people are now anxiously waiting to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. I’m encouraged to see the progress so far and hope to see an increase in supply. While many have been granted eligibility, the elderly and immunocompromised are and should be high priority. This is why I was shocked and disappointed to know that nuns living in congregate settings and long-term care facilities were excluded from phase 1. After learning this, I immediately put together a resolution advocating for them to receive high-priority vaccine status.

Since the resolution received the unanimous support of the Erie County Legislature, I am thrilled to learn that our sisters are now being prioritized for the vaccine. Many of them, like those living in the Felician Sisters convent in Cheektowaga, care for those who are frail, in a setting similar to that of a nursing home. Sadly, six nuns at that facility died due to COVID in December. Our sisters have spent decades providing care to those who need it, and they should not be forgotten in this process. I am proud to advocate for them and relieved to know they can now receive a vaccine. I’d also like to share that my resolution calling for a full, independent investigation into recent sexual harassment claims against Gov. Andrew Cuomo unanimously passed the Legislature. Allegations of this nature are incredibly serious and can’t be taken lightly. It is shameful that the governor would attempt to appoint his own investigator. Justice must be served, and the Attorney General’s office needs to lead the way.

Last but not least, I’m proud to share that we are working to secure state and federal funding to improve the infrastructure throughout our community. Pleasant View Drive in the Town of Lancaster, for example, is set to receive safety enhancements in the coming months. I’ve spoken with many residents about this particular road and share their concerns. Keeping our children, roads and overall communities safe will always be a top priority of mine, and I encourage you to contact me if you experience problems with any county-owned roads.