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March 6, 2018 - 9:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in health department, news, notify.

There have been 520 confirmed flu cases in Genesee County, up from an average of 150 to 200 per season, Health Director Paul Petitt told the Human Services Committee at a meeting on Monday.

The good news is, the number of cases is starting to slow but there is also typically a second peak during flu season.

Even though this year's flu shot has proven to be only about 40 percent effective, it's still the best measure to prevent the flu or to lessen its severity, Petitt said.

Flu is just one of many issues on the Health Department's plate, Petitt said.

There was also a rabies case in January involving 12 people who needed post-exposure treatment after a family took in a stray kitten.  The family members, as well as some friends, required treatment.

Petitt said people need to remember to be wary of unknown animals, whether domestic or wild.

The opiate crisis continues to hit Genesee County hard.  The number of deaths in the county for 2017 is not yet available but officials are aware of the continued high call volume for emergency responders and the reports of deaths locally.

The tri-county task force continues to work on the issue and will be supplement by an intra-agency effort funded by a $578,000 grant from the Greater Rochester Foundation to GCASA.

The health department is also tasked with ensuring any local buildings with cooling towers are complying with new regulations to help prevent the spread of Legionnaires Disease.

Finally, even though mosquitos carrying the Zika virus aren't likely to make to Western New York, it is a concern to the south of us, so the health department is also monitoring for reports of infections locally -- there have been none so far -- for people who travel.

Petitt also shared that in the five years since Orleans and Genesee counties entered into a shared services agreement for health department services, the two counties have saved about $1 million in costs.

October 11, 2017 - 3:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in YMCA, UMMC, health department, alexander, news.


Families in Alexander have been participating in a special fitness program sponsored by the YMCA, UMMC, County Health Department, and the school district.

The sessions are on Wednesday nights from 6:15 to 7:45 at the school. They started Sept. 27.

"The goal is to keep people moving is the best way to describe the program," said Rob Walker, CEO of the GLOW YMCA.

Photos submitted by the YMCA.






June 2, 2015 - 10:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in health department, little league.

The controversy that erupted two weeks ago over a health department demand that the Batavia Little League secure the proper permits to sell hots and pizza was actually years in the making, department officials told members of the County Legislature yesterday.

At the request of the Human Services Committee, Paul Pettit, Public Health director, and David Whitcroft, Environmental Health director, attended the committee's meeting at the Old Courthouse and answered legislators' questions.

The fee schedule for various permits issued by the department changed in 2003 and that made it mandatory for most of the area nonprofit groups that hold events and serve food to acquire health permits. 

It was sticky issue when nonprofits were exempt because it isn't always clear what qualifies as a nonprofit, or what events should get exempted, Whitcroft said.

"It was an ethical problem," Whitcroft said. "It was entirely subjective. Who determines who doesn't have to pay? There was no standard to decide and that gives a lot of power to individuals to decide who gets waivers. I wasn't comfortable with that power."

In 2013, the county's Public Health Committee learned that for some reason, youth baseball had been exempted from the permit requirement, and nobody really knew why that was or how that happened.

"It seemed unfair because if I'm playing with a bat and ball, I don't have to pay, but if I'm playing with a soccer ball, then I have to pay," Pettit said.

Most of those bat-and-ball organizations complied with the new rules once it applied to them, Whitcroft said, and in many cases, the department was able to work with organizations to help better determine which permit was appropriate to the situation, or how food operations might be changed to lower permit costs.

The rules can be "interpreted generously" when organizations are cooperative, Whitcroft said.

Whitcroft implied that Batavia Little League was less than cooperative, telling officials that they refused to comply. That left the county with no option but to require a permit level with a $175 price tag.

Now, the league is more cooperative and the department is working with league leaders on what could be a lower cost option.

Permit fees barely even cover the costs of field inspections of food services, Pettit said. The department is not looking to turn a profit on permits, just cover the direct costs of inspections, he said.

Every business, group or organization that serves prepared food (rather than pre-packaged food) is required to obtain some level of Health Department permit. It's not just a piece of paper, Pettit said. It serves as notice to the county that food service is taking place and triggers an automatic inspection of the food service. There is an inspection with each and every permit issued.

There are some exceptions to the permit requirement. Churches with kitchens that serve only their own members need only obtain a letter of permission. There are about 60 letters of permission on file in the county.

Outside groups that use church kitchens for fundraisers or other public meals are required to get a temporary health permit.

Bake sales involving anything that doesn't need to be refrigerated are not required to get a permit.

Your kid's lemonade stand, however, is required to have a health permit.

"It's required under New York State law and I should enforce it, but I never have," Whitcroft said.

In all, various permits issued by the Health Department generate about $90,000 in revenue annually. Less than $8,000 of that revenue comes from groups that could be considered nonprofits.

May 20, 2015 - 3:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, baseball, little league, health department.

Batavia Little League has paid for a health permit, according to County Manager Jay Gsell.

Gsell said a VP with the league showed up at the County Health Department this morning and paid the fee, Gsell said.

The department had told league officials they couldn't sell pizza and hot dogs without a proper permit, which costs $175 per food stand.

May 20, 2015 - 10:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in little league, baseball, sports, health department.

Report from our news partner 13WHAM about the County Health Department requiring Batavia Little League to acquire a health permit to sell pizza and hot dogs.

October 15, 2013 - 11:35am
posted by Tammi Ferringer in County, Nursing, health department.
Company Name: 
County of Genesee, Health Department
Job Type: 

Genesee County is seeking candidates for the full-time position of Community Health Nurse in the Health Department. The successful candidate will join the Nursing Team which provides: Program Planning/Reporting; Preventive Care Services; Health Education; Disease Investigations; Collaboration with stakeholders to improve Community Health.

July 31, 2013 - 9:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in health department.

Press release:

The Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County health departments are encouraging county residents to “Choose Health.” Taking small steps in our day-to-day living and making positive health choices will lead to healthier outcomes. Is this a step you can take?

When you consider the information that you receive regarding your health, where does the majority of the information come from? A doctor, the Internet, family, friends, or coworkers? Some of this information might be excellent, while other information may be incorrect or too broad to adopt as part of your healthy routine. As always, we encourage you to seek out the best information in order to make informed health choices.

Beginning in September, the Genesee County Health Department will offer new and up-to-date technology to all patients in the clinic waiting room and to those we meet during educational community events. The new technology is made available through an exciting award to the county through the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. The award provides iPad devices, kiosks, a printer, and a large screen television to make accessing health information fun and inviting.

Free of charge, patients have the opportunity to get directly connected to health information using Web sites that the National Network of Libraries of Medicine support, ensuring the information you receive is reliable. This can be health information relevant to your visit, or related to other health concerns. Patients have the ability to print the information out to take home or to use it to consult with a health professional at the clinic.

Unsure how to use an iPad tablet? The waiting room will be stocked with directions as to how to easily operate and use the technology while waiting.

The National Network of Libraries of Medicine supports various Web sites including Medline Plus, AIDSinfo, NIH Senior Health, ToxTown, and many more. Each Web site is designed to be easily understood and offers tips on how individuals can make healthy choices. Even if you do not use Genesee County clinics or miss the opportunity at community events, we highly recommend each of the Web sites for great day-to-day health information.

There are three different clinics that are offered through the Genesee County Health Department; Immunization, STD/HIV Testing and Tuberculosis Testing.  The Immunization Clinic is offered by appointment, twice a month, for both adults and children. The STD/HIV Testing Clinic is a walk-in clinic, offered every Tuesday from 9 to 11 a.m. The Tuberculosis Testing Clinic is also available twice a month and on a walk-in basis, too. To make an appointment and to check for clinic dates please visit the department’s Web site or Facebook page.

You can easily become a health-conscious consumer by accessing reliable health information and using it to make healthier choices. Utilizing this educational opportunity now makes it easier than ever! 

This project has been funded in whole or in part with federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. HHS-N-276-2011-00003-C with the University of Pittsburgh, Health Sciences Library System.

A special thank you goes to Carrie Whipple for her assistance and research for this column. Carrie is a Public Health Intern with the Orleans County Health Department and is receiving her master’s degree from the University of New England.

For information about health department services:
    •    Genesee County Health Department call: 344-2580, ext. 5000, or visit their Web site at www.co.genesee.ny.us/departments/health/index.html. Visit Facebook at Genesee County Health Department and Twitter at GeneseeCoHealthDept.
    •    Orleans County Health Department call: 589-3278 or check out our Web site at:  www.orleansny.com/publichealth. Visit Facebook and Twitter: the user name for both is OrleansCoHealth.  
    •    Wyoming County Health Department call: 786-8890 or visit their Web site at www.wyomingco.net/health/main.html.

July 3, 2013 - 1:50pm
posted by David Whitcroft in health department, Full Time Job.
Company Name: 
The Orleans County Health Department
Job Type: 

PUBLIC HEALTH SANITARIAN.  Full time position available.  The Orleans County Health Department is seeking a qualified individual to perform the required job responsibilities included but not limited to: sanitary surveys including public and private water supplies, private sewage disposal facilities, inspections of permitted establishments such as food service establishments, children’s camps, migrant labor housing, etc.   Duties include performing investigations, conducting surveys and environmental sample collection; within the full scope of Orleans County Health Departmen

October 4, 2012 - 10:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in health department.

Paul Petit will soon officially be in charge of two county health departments -- Genesee and Orleans.

Over the past couple of weeks the two counties have hammered out an agreement to share health department services.

Petit, out of Orleans, will become Genesee County's public health director while retaining that position in Orleans County.

Genesee County's interim director, David Whitcroft, will become the environmental health director for both counties.

The official appointment of Petit was approved Wednesday by the Ways and Means Committee and will next be voted on by the full legislature next week.

Petit will be paid by Orleans County and get reimbursed for a portion of his salary by Genesee County, and Whitcroft's $65,000 salary will remain on Genesee County's payroll, but Orleans will share in the expense.

Over time, County Manager Jay Gsell, the arrangement may lead to more shared services between the two health departments, meaning potential cost savings.

For now, the real cost savings comes from the fact the county won't need to hire its own public health director.

For several years, Genesee County has relied on interim health directors, but the state is putting a stop to such an arrangement.

The county must have an actual public health director, but the qualifications for such a position put the annual salary in the $80,000 to $100,000 range. The shared services arrangement will help the county avoid that expense.

July 13, 2010 - 3:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, health department, Latina's.

BATAVIA, NY -- The gulls roosting atop Latina's may be noisy, stinky and prone to poop on anything and everything, but they are not a public health hazard, according to the County Board of Health.

latinas_condemned02.jpgBoard President Mary J. McJury notified BID Director Don Burkel of the board's finding in a July 7 letter.

"Although the Board of Health empathizes with the current situation, it was the board's determination, following careful review of the investigation, that this situation does not constitute a public health nuisance."

The Latina's building was condemned last week by the city for allegedly unsanitary conditions.

LKLWL Properties, the building's owner, has been summoned to City Court on July 23 to answer a complaint by the city that the company has failed to deal with unsanitary conditions on the property.

In her letter, McJury notes that the Herring Gulls are attracted to the Latina's roof because it is flat, warm and protected from harassment and predation.

"It is a short flight for them to feeding opportunities in the agricultural land surrounding the city," she wrote. "They are omnivores and eat anything from garbage to berries."

She said the actual issue with the property appears "to be property maintenance and aesthetic in nature."

She notes that the New York Department of Health issued a report finding no negative human health issues associated with Herring Gull populations.

Also, to date, there have been no reports of illnesses related to Batavia's gull infestation.

January 28, 2009 - 4:26pm

Genesee County's Department of Health has released its 2009 schedule for anti-rabies immunization clinics. Please click here to download the document.

August 27, 2008 - 11:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, health department.

WBTA story: The county Health Department is warning that a rabid cat was found in Le Roy and they want to speak to anybody who may have come into contact with the feline.

The black cat lived on Summit street and health officials are looking for people who may have come into contact with it between Aug. 14 and Aug. 24.

Two people were either bitten or scratched and are being treated for rabies.

Contact: Genesee County Health Department at 344-2580, Extension 5569.


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