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health department

August 15, 2020 - 2:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Rabies Clinic, health department, video, pets.
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At one point Thursday, cars lined up for free rabies shots for their pets were backed up on Route 5 and a deputy was dispatched to assist with traffic control.

Sarah Balduf, environmental health director for Genesee County, said it was a larger than normal turnout for the rabies clinic and that cars started lining up at 2:30.

Staff members started processing paperwork and vaccinating pets as soon as they were set up, ahead of the 4 p.m. start time, which helped workers keep up with the stream of cars coming through the fairgrounds.

August 3, 2020 - 4:26pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, GOW opioid task force, health department.

Press release:

COVID-19 may have temporarily put a stop to large gatherings, but the coronavirus pandemic is no match for the GOW Opioid Task Force’s commitment to informing the public of the dangers of opioid drug use and ways to prevent potentially deadly overdoses.

“Our Overdose Awareness Day is not able to be held this summer due to social distancing guidelines and restrictions on the use of parks, so we will be transitioning to an online event,” said Christen Ferraro, task force coordinator. “All the information that would have been shared at Austin Park in Batavia will be put on our Facebook page.”

Ferraro added that the task force plans to post – on a regular basis throughout August -- articles, videos, local data and stories from individuals that have been affected by an overdose.

Genesee/Orleans Public Health Director Paul Pettit, a member of the task force, said he is well aware of the widespread impact of the opioid epidemic.

“Any loss of life is devastating to a community,” he said. “The effect is far-reaching as it devastates the family system – economically as a number of financially productive years are lost and emotionally as no dollar amounts can equal the loss of a life due to addiction.”

Pettit said that setting aside a period of time, be it a month or a day, to remind people of the various issues surrounding opioid use is important.

“There are so many services available for those experiencing addictive behaviors or are experimenting with various substances, and we encourage people to use those services before it is too late,” he said.

Ferraro also advised that another virtual opioid overdose prevention and Narcan training is scheduled for Aug. 26, with sessions at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The training will cover the disease of addiction, a brief history of the opioid crisis, signs and symptoms of opioid use and overdose, the overdose reversal drug Narcan and the administration of Narcan.

Attendance is required at just one of the sessions for the participant to receive credit for the course.

“Those completing the training will learn more about how to prevent an opioid overdose and will receive a free Narcan nasal spray kit,” Ferraro said. “It is important to bring awareness to this day and the impact an overdose can have on an individual, their families and the community.”

The registration deadline is Aug. 24. To register, contact Ferraro at [email protected]

For more information and to see the event flyer, go to Facebook.com/gowopioidtaskforce.

March 3, 2020 - 5:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in food safety, business, health department, notify.

The county Board of Health may soon adopt a new policy that will require establishments and events offering prepared foods to have at least one supervisor or server on hand who has completed a certified food safety course. The aim is to better protect the public from the transmission of disease during food handling.

The 60- to 90-minute course costs from $10 to $15 and will provide the person taking the course with information on the safe preparation, storage and handling of food.

"The goal, really, is to make sure Genesee County residents are as safe as they can be, so they don't have to worry when they go out and eat in restaurants or establishments that serve food," said Paul Pettit, director of the Health Department. "We want to make sure they're providing the safest meals possible. It's about protection and prevention."

The new food safety requirement will apply both to established restaurants and temporary food stands, such as you find at community events, fundraisers, carnivals and the fair.

Businesses and groups serving food will not be required to ensure every cook and server take the course, only that at least one person working during any period where food is being served to the public, or during preparation, have a certificate of completion for the course. 

While some online courses set an expiration date on the certification, the county's rules will honor any certificate proving a person has taken a course, even if it is printed with an expiration date.

The Board of Health is appointed by the Genesee County Legislature and is the policy-making body for food safety rules in the county. The board has been discussing the proposed rule at recent meetings, Pettit said, and he expects the board to approve the policy change.

Businesses and community organizations will have at least a year to comply.

The policy will apply to any food service that is required to have a Health Department permit to serve food.

The course covers such things as the temperatures necessary for properly storing food, hot or cold, how hot to cook food, especially meats, and properly handling food.

"If they don't cook the chicken until it's falling off the bone, or 165 degrees, which is the correct temperature, we may have a problem," Pettit said.

One of the biggest worries in food safety is the transmission of hepatitis A, which can happen when people serving food handle it with their bare hands (hepatitis A is transmitted from fecal matter). There have been incidents of hepatitis A outbreaks as recently as last year in Erie County. That's why even a community event where pizza is served by untrained volunteers is a concern, Pettit said.

Pettit said the same policy has been in place in Orleans County for 10 years and hasn't proven onerous for businesses nor community groups. It has also been implemented in several other Upstate counties. It's also a requirement of federal food regulations and New York is one of the last states not to adopt those standards in its own statewide regulations. That is something Pettit said is likely to change very soon.

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October 9, 2019 - 11:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in child lead poisoning, health department, news, batavia.

County health officials are still waiting on details from the federal government on a $1.3 million grant awarded to Genesee County and Orleans County for lead-hazard abatement and reduction in older homes.

At a meeting of the Human Services Committee last week, Paul Pettit, director of the health departments in both counties, said the first he learned that the counties had received the grant was by reading about it in The Batavian.

Since then, he's received a phone call confirming the grant but formal guidelines have not yet been delivered to his office.

"This is a significant amount of funding to come into Genesee County and to Orleans County and it would really help us to help those who don't have the means and the funds potentially to fix the problem," Pettit said in an interview last week.

Pettit's office applied for the grant over the summer.

The grant will enable the health departments to identify housing stock with potential lead hazards and make available grant money to the property owners to remediate the hazard.

"This funding is very important because what it does is, it allows, number one, a potential partnership with the homeowners or rental landlords to be able to fix a problem before a child gets poisoned and have funding available to remediate those homes prior to the poisoning occurring," Pettit said. "So when you look at it from a primary prevention standpoint, that's what we want to do. We want to try to prevent a child from getting poisoned in the first place."

The grants will be available to both homeowners and landlords of residences built prior to 1978 in three of the four census tracks in the City of Batavia and one census track in Albion.

Until the guidelines are in place, Pettit said it's not possible to provide details on how properties will be identified, inspected and what the criteria will be for providing assistance to property owners.

"We're gonna have to stand this program up fairly quickly when we get the formal announcement of the funding," Pettit said.

Health department staff has recently been through training for lead risk-assessment certification, Pettit told the Human Services Committee.

He also told the committee there is legislation pending in Albany that would require landlords with housing built prior to 1978 to receive annual lead-safe certification for their units, unless they made the property lead free, which would mean doing likes like removing trim, replacing windows, installing siding on the outside of the building.

"We do not want to see any child poisoned from lead exposure," Pettit said. "It can lead to developmental delays and other health impacts that could affect them over their entire lives. It's very important to identify and find these hazards early and then protect the children so they're not getting lead poisoning."

March 5, 2019 - 5:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in health department, news, notify.


New York's proposed budget for the coming fiscal year includes several public health policy changes that health officials support, Paul Pettit, director of Health Services for Genesee County, told the Human Services Committee during a department review Monday.

But the changes don't necessarily come with flexible or increased funding to help pay for the programs.

This could create new unfunded mandates for the county.

Providers for the Early Intervention Program haven't received a raise in 20 years and the governor's budget includes a 5-percent increase in the reimbursement rate but the burden for the additional expense will fall largely on the county.

"Providers have been loaded with additional administrative responsibility without additional resources and funding resulting in a continued exodus of providers, creating waiting lists, especially in rural areas like Genesee County," Pettit said.

The state is also looking at changes in residential lead monitoring programs. Currently, pediatricians able to conduct blood test for lead poisoning rates -- though not all pediatricians provide this service and not all parents take advantage of the service -- and those results are reported to a state database. County officials are then able to identify children with higher levels of lead in their system. A five-part level leads to a health worker contacting the family to provide education and information on best practices to avoid lead poisoning.  

Action to remediate exposure to lead isn't required for the property owner -- whether the family is renting or owns the home -- unless a level of 15 mg/dL is detected.  

The state is proposing lowering the rate -- thereby prompting more costly intervention -- to 5 mg/dL. This would mean an additional 50 to 60 inspections each year for the county with no additional funds from the state to cover the costs.

The Preschool Supportive Health Program remains the department's most expensive locally supported program, Pettit said. The state has been slow to provide mandate relief. There is a shortage of providers and reimbursement rates set by the state are not competitive. 

"This shortage creates a waiting list for children who have been identified as needing our providers," Pettit said.

There needs to be changes in the program, Pettit said.

The state's county health directors continue to work with the governor's office on these and other issues, Pettit said, in an attempt to bridge the gap between mandates and funding.

December 8, 2018 - 2:08pm

Press release:

The Genesee and Orleans County Health Department’s Early Intervention Program will be hosting a meeting of the Local Early Intervention Coordinating Council (LEICC). The meeting is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 14, at 9:30 a.m. at 448 W. State St., Albion.

The LEICC is a group of community members, including parents, who are interested in what is happening locally regarding early intervention services for infants and toddlers, age birth to 3.

Early intervention has been going strong for more than 20 years. During this time, a vast amount of research has been done on brain development in children from birth through age 3. The research is showing how vital the early years are for development, as well as the importance of Early Intervention because these are the years that will affect a child’s later development.

The goal of the LEICC is to afford the opportunity for parents and other members to voice their thoughts and concerns on the strengths and weaknesses of the Genesee and Orleans County Early Intervention Program and to work together to improve the program.

The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments are encouraging parents to attend and to offer input as to how we can best meet the needs of all infants and toddlers.

For more information, please contact Deborah Krenzer-Lewter, director of Children with Special Needs for Genesee and Orleans, at 585-344-2580, ext. 5572.

Please note, if Albion schools are closed for a snow day, the meeting will be rescheduled.

August 18, 2018 - 8:00am
posted by Billie Owens in immunizations, health department, news, Announcements.

From the Genesee County Health Department:

With the summer winding down, it’s time to get back in the swing of school and schedules. Whether it’s a baby starting at a new daycare, a toddler heading to preschool, a student going back to elementary, middle or high school – or even a college freshman – parents should check their child’s vaccine records.

“Getting children all of the vaccines recommended by CDC’s immunization schedule is one of the most important things parents can do to help protect their children’s health,” said Paul Pettit, Genesee & Orleans Public Health director.

August is recognized as National Immunization Awareness Month. Today’s vaccines protect against serious and potentially life-threatening diseases, including polio, measles, whooping cough, and chickenpox. Because of advances in medical science, your children and family can be protected against more diseases than ever before.

Diseases can quickly spread among groups of children who aren’t vaccinated.

“Vaccines are the safest and most effective way to prevent several diseases," Pettit said. "They not only protect vaccinated individuals but also help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases.”

Childcare facilities, preschool programs, schools and colleges are prone to disease outbreaks. Children in these settings can easily spread illnesses to one another due to poor hand washing, not covering their coughs and sneezes and other factors related to interacting in crowded environments.

Babies and children are not the only ones who need protection against vaccine preventable diseases. Parents and caretakers need to be protected by vaccines as well to stay healthy for their family and community.

Vaccines are recommended throughout our lives based on age, lifestyle, occupation, travel destinations, medical conditions, and vaccines received in the past. For more information about the recommended vaccines for each age group visit: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/

Information on NYS Immunization Requirements for School Entrance/Attendance click here

For information about Health Department services contact:

Genesee County Health Department at: 344-2580, ext. 5555, or visit their website here.

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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