WXXI AM News

Brett Dahlberg

Health reporter and producer

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. 

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Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

A Yates County family whose son was barred from school after being denied a medical exemption for vaccines was back in court Friday, arguing that he should be allowed back in school permanently.

Carl Schwartz said his son, Thorn, has severe reactions to vaccines. He said the family’s doctor agrees, and Thorn has not been vaccinated in almost a decade.

Still, Carl said no doctor has found a causal link between Thorn’s reactions and a vaccine.

Max Schulte / WXXI News

A local drug distributor accused of fueling the opioid epidemic has told the state labor department that it plans to shut down its local operations.

The Rochester Drug Cooperative paid a $20 million fine after admitting that it knowingly violated federal narcotics laws. Then, the company shut down its narcotics business.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

Members of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Medicaid redesign team were in Rochester on Tuesday for a public forum on plans to cut costs in one of the state’s most expensive programs.

The team is supposed to present recommendations next month to save the state $2.5 billion in Medicaid expenses in the next fiscal year.

In Rochester, they heard from a succession of health care workers and executives who are worried about potential cuts.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

More people have entered voluntary quarantine for coronavirus monitoring in Monroe County.  None of them shows any symptoms of illness.

There are now nine people quarantining themselves in Monroe County after returning from China.

The public health department said the isolation is voluntary, but everyone under quarantine has been cooperating with government requests.

Under voluntary quarantine, people are taking their temperatures and checking in with the health department every day.

Irfan Rahman / University of Rochester Medical Center

When the federal Food and Drug Administration announced it was stepping up enforcement of its rules against flavored vape products last month, the agency said the goal was to diminish the products’ appeal to young people.

The FDA specifically named fruit and mint flavors as drivers of youth use of e-cigarettes.

But many of those flavors are still available in local vape shops.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

The number of people under quarantine for novel coronavirus monitoring in Monroe County has grown.

Six people -- none of whom have shown any symptoms of infection with the virus -- have agreed to quarantine themselves at home for two weeks, public health commissioner Michael Mendoza said.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has introduced a bill to fund community support programs for people who have substance use disorders, as well as their families. 

The bill, called the Family Support Services for Addiction Act of 2020, would create a $25 million pool of grant money for non-profit organizations that work in the addiction field.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

The coronavirus that emerged in China late last year is still without a permanent name.

The World Health Organization established guidelines in 2015 to help scientists name new infections.

Now, researchers at the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses are working on classifying and naming the 2019 novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 600 people (though no cases have been confirmed in New York).

New England Journal of Medicine


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.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Two people died of the flu in the latest week of statistics released by the Monroe County public health department.

Both deaths were people older than 75, according to the report, which runs through Jan. 25. They bring the total death toll of this flu season to four.

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