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April 14, 2022 - 10:19am

The Genesee County Legislature issued three proclamations at its meeting Wednesday afternoon at the Old Courthouse -- National Public Health Week (April 4-10), National Public Safety Telecommunications Week (April 10-16) and Animal Care and Control Appreciation Week (April 10-16).


Legislator Gregg Torrey, left, reads from the National Public Health Week proclamation as Brenden Bedard, Public Health deputy director, looks on. The decree asks residents "to observe this week by helping our families, friends, neighbors, co-workers and leaders better understand the value of public health and supporting great opportunities and to celebrate public health’s accomplishments in light of this year’s theme, Public Health is Where You Are.


Legislator Chad Klotzbach presents the National Public Safety Telecommunications proclamation to, from left, Dispatcher Shelby Turner, Assistant Director Frank Riccobono, Director Steven Sharpe and Sheriff William Sheron. According to the proclamation, "Public Safety Telecommunicators are the first and most critical contact our citizens have with emergency services; they work 24/7 and have one of the most stressful jobs in America, and (the legislature) takes great pride in honoring the men and women whose diligence and professionalism keep our county, citizens, and first responders safe."


Dog Control Officers Catherine Seward, left, and Sarah Fountain accept the Animal Care and Control Appreciation Week proclamation as Sheriff Sheron and Legislator Gordon Dibble look on. The decree states that animal control officers "are compassionate and committed individuals who serve to protect animals every day by enforcing laws pertaining to their treatment, and (the legislature) takes great pride in honoring the officers whose dedication and professionalism protect the welfare of helpless animals and pets within our county."

Submitted photos.

April 24, 2020 - 12:55pm

From the Genesee & Orleans County Health Departmenta:

Deer ticks live in shady, moist areas at ground level. They will cling to tall grass, brush and shrubs, usually no more than 18-24 inches off the ground. They also live in lawns and gardens, especially at the edges of woods and around old stone walls.

Deer ticks cannot jump or fly, and do not drop onto passing people or animals. They get on humans and animals only by direct contact. Once a tick gets on the skin, it generally climbs upward until it reaches a protected area.

“It’s important for you and your family to learn how to prevent a bite, how to remove a tick, and what to do if you think you could have a tick-borne disease,” said Sarah Balduf, Environmental director for the Genesee & Orleans County Health Departments.

In tick-infested areas, your best protection is to avoid contact with soil, leaf litter and vegetation.

“As we continue to balance the implications of COVID-19 and working to enjoy outdoor activities, remember to follow Governor Cuomo’s 10-point New York State on PAUSE Plan, including that individuals should limit outdoor recreational activities to non-contact and avoid activities where they come in close contact with other people,” said Paul Pettit, director for the Genesee & Orleans County Health Departments.

For more information about the New York State on PAUSE Plan click here.

However, if you garden, hike, camp, hunt, work, or otherwise spend time in the outdoors and maintain appropriate social distancing, you can still protect yourself:

  • Wear light-colored clothing with a tight weave to spot ticks easily.
  • Wear enclosed shoes, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and shirt into pants.
  • Check clothes and any exposed skin frequently for ticks while outdoors.
  • Consider using insect repellent.
  • Stay on cleared, well-traveled trails. Walk in the center of trails. Avoid dense woods and bushy areas.
  • Avoid sitting directly on the ground or on stone walls.
  • Keep long hair tied back, especially when gardening.
  • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after going indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that may be on you.
  • Do a final, full-body tick check at the end of the day (also check children and pets), and remove ticks promptly.

What About Insect Repellent?

Consider using insect repellents registered with the Environmental Protection Agency:

  • DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) can be applied to exposed skin. Products that contain 20 percent or more DEET can provide protection that lasts up to several hours. Use the lowest concentration of DEET that you will need for the length of time you will be outdoors.
  • Picaridin is a colorless, nearly odorless ingredient that can be applied to exposed skin in a range of 5 to 20 percent of the active ingredient.
  • Permethrin: Clothes, shoes and camping gear can be treated or purchased pretreated with permethrin. Its protection can last through many washes.Neverapply permethrin to skin. The New York State Health Department recommends taking these precautions when using repellents that contain these active ingredients:
  • Store out of the reach of children and read all instructions on the label before applying.
  • Do NOT allow children to apply repellents themselves.

What Can I Do To Reduce Ticks In My Yard?

  • Keep lawns mowed and edges trimmed.
  • Clear brush, leaf litter and tall grass around the house, and at the edges of gardens and stone walls.
  • Stack woodpiles neatly away from the house and preferably off the ground.
  • In the fall, clear all leaf and garden litter, where ticks can live in the winter, out of your yard.
  • Keep the ground under bird feeders clean so as not to attract small animals that can carry ticks into your yard.
  • Locate children’s swing sets and other play equipment in sunny, dry areas of the yard, away from the woods where ticks can be abundant. For more information on Lyme disease, contact your local health department or refer to the NYS Department of Health website.

Also Consider These Important Facts:

  • If you tuck pants into socks and shirts into pants, be aware that ticks will climb upward to hidden areas of the head and neck, so spot-check clothes frequently.
  • Clothes can be sprayed with DEET or treated with permethrin. Follow label instructions carefully.
  • Upon returning home, clothes can be put in a high temperature dryer for 20 minutes to kill any unseen ticks.
  • Any contact with vegetation, even playing in the yard, can result in exposure to ticks. Frequent tick checks should be followed by a whole-body examination and tick removal each night. This is the single most effective method for prevention of Lyme disease.

How Can I Safely Remove a Tick?

If you DO find a tick attached to your skin, do not panic. Not all ticks are infected, and your risk of Lyme disease is greatly reduced if the tick is removed within the first 36 hours. To remove a tick:

  • Use a pair of pointed tweezers to grasp the tick by the head or mouth parts right where they enter the skin. DO NOT grasp the tick by the body.
  • Pull firmly and steadily outward. DO NOT jerk or twist the tick.
  • Place the tick in a small container of rubbing alcohol to kill it.
  • Clean the bite wound with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.
  • Monitor the site of the bite for the next 30 days for the appearance of a rash. If you develop a rash or flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately. Although not routinely recommended, taking antibiotics within three days after a tick bite may be beneficial for some persons. This would apply to deer tick bites that occurred in areas where Lyme disease is common and there is evidence that the tick fed for more than one day. In cases like this you should discuss the possibilities with your doctor or health care provider.

For information on Health Department services in Genesee County contact:

  • Genesee County Health Department at: 344-2580, ext. 5555, or visit their website.
March 13, 2020 - 4:57pm

Press release:

East Bethany Presbyterian Church has been closely monitoring the potential impact of COVID-19 and is following current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and New York State Health Department.

After days of prayer and discussion between the church’s governing board (the Session) and our pastor, Rev. Erin Schubmehl Jacobson, and following the recommendations of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley, we are canceling in-person worship services, including church school through March 27th.

We will continue to update the church community on our Facebook page and our website.

March 13, 2020 - 3:50pm
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy Central Schools, COVID-19, Public Health, news.

Press release:  

Le Roy Central School District has made the decision to postpone our musical performances of "Into the Woods" for tonight and tomorrow (March 13 and 14).

If you have purchased tickets, please hold on to them as we hope to hold the shows in the future. For those of you who might seek refunds, further information will be communicated in the future.

Our production will stage a closed dress rehearsal tonight for Stars of Tomorrow Judges ONLY.

Tim McArdle, Principal, Le Roy Jr.-Sr. High School

March 13, 2020 - 2:46pm

Press release:

Northgate Free Methodist Church has been closely monitoring the potential impact of COVID-19 and is following current recommendations from the CDC, local health departments / government officials and the most recent guidelines from NY Governor Andrew Cuomo.

After days of careful consideration, prayer and discussion between Northgate’s Management Team, we have come to the following conclusion: In cooperation with those trying to keep our surrounding communities safe, we are canceling all in-person worship services, including activities for children and students this weekend.

Small groups, due to the size restrictions set forth by the government, will be allowed to meet at their personal discretion, offsite.

Because we value gathering together as a community of believers, we are encouraging the community to join us online on our Facebook Live feed for worship on Saturday evening at 6 o'clock.

That recorded service will then be available at any time to be used for personal worship time this Sunday. The recorded worship service will also be posted for viewing on our website at northgatefmc.com.

Please invite people to join in with us as you would on any given Saturday or Sunday. News updates will be made available at northgatefmc.com/news

Plans for next week and the weeks ahead remain fluid at this time. We will be evaluating the circumstances day to day and will keep the community abreast of the details as they become available.

March 13, 2020 - 2:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in town of batavia, COVID-19, news, Public Health.

Press release:

The Town of Batavia has initiated the first phase of actions and precautions deemed necessary to continue to protect Town officers, staff and residents from the consequences of contagions such as colds, flu, and the coronavirus.

We will continue to clean and sanitize facilities as recommended by Public Health agencies. We will restrict nonessential trainings, reduce unnecessary contact between staff members and the public. We will post and distribute Health Self-Assessment Checklists to all staff.

We have identified essential staff and will be conferencing as many times a day as needed to address the rapidly evolving concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will continue expanding our partnership with other public and private agencies to find efficiencies in our response.

We ask that all persons having business with the Town and Town Court to please take the time to call, check our website, or email and ask for the best and safest way to transact or conduct business.

Town of Batavia and The Town of Batavia Courts, 3833 W. Main Street Road
Batavia, NY 14020


March 13, 2020 - 12:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in COVID-19, Public Health, news.

March13: Closures, cancellations and postponements announced March 13 as precautionary measures to prevent the risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • East Bethany Presbyterian Church has been closely monitoring the potential impact of COVID-19 and is following current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and New York State Health Department. After days of prayer and discussion between the church’s governing board (the Session) and our pastor, Rev. Erin Schubmehl Jacobson, and following the recommendations of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley, we are canceling in-person worship services, including church school through March 27thWe will continue to update the church community on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ebpresbyterian/) and our website (http://ebpresbyterian.blogspot.com/).

  • Le Roy Central School District has made the decision to postpone our musical performances of "Into the Woods" for tonight and tomorrow (March 13 and 14). If you have purchased tickets, please hold on to them as we hope to hold the shows in the future. For those of you who might seek refunds, further information will be communicated in the future. (Our production will stage a closed dress rehearsal tonight for Stars of Tomorrow Judges ONLY.)

  • The Genesee County Office for the Aging has suspended all recreational programs at this time. Those seeking services are requested to call for an appointment 343-1611.

  • Northgate Free Methodist Church in Batavia is canceling all in-person worship services, including activities for children and students this weekend (March 14-15). Small groups, due to the size restrictions set forth by the government, will be allowed to meet at their personal discretion, offsite. We are encouraging the community to join us online on our Facebook Live feed for worship on Saturday evening at 6 o'clock. The recorded worship service will also be posted for viewing on the church website. News updates will be made available here.

  • The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce has postponed its seventh annual Home Show due to Governor Cuomo’s coronavirus ban on gatherings of 500 or more people. The Home Show was scheduled for April 3-5 at the Falleti Ice Arena. The Chamber plans to hold the show later this year, at a time when the pandemic ban is lifted. “The purpose of our Home Show has always been to put our area businesses in front of as many potential customers as possible,” said Chamber President Tom Turnbull.  “We are trying hard to come up with ways to do just that during these extraordinary times.”

  • Museum Quilt Guild is cancelling its March 21 meeting and Community Service Day. This is normally held at the Batavia VA Center in the auditorium.

  • The Volunteers for Animals Spay-ghetti Dinner fundraising dinner at Notre Dame High School scheduled for Saturday, March 14, has been postponed. It will be rescheduled at a later date.

  • The Batavia City School District Foundation Inc. is postponing its debut Alumni Pep Rally that was scehduled for March 29 at Eli Fish Brewing Co. A new date will be determined in the future.

  • Due to the recent health concerns, the 14th Annual Antique Show and Sale sponsored by the Holland Land Office Museum, which was to take place at Genesee Community College on April 17th and 18th, has been postponed. We are currently working with GCC to find a new date in the fall.
February 5, 2020 - 3:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in Public Health, flu season, COVID-19, news.

So far, the Chinese pandemic that has millions of people quarantined has not thus far been reported in New York State. But the pesky flu season drags on, and health officials report the influenza season continues now into its ninth week.

For the week ending Jan. 25 alone, there were 60 new cases of flu reported in Genesee County. Of those, 42 were Type A, and 18 were Type B.

The "Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report" from the New York State Department of Health, which covers influenza activity across the state and by county, is published every Thursday during flu season and can be found here for state data and, here for county-by-county statistics.

In regard to another communicable illness, one that is causing global alarm -- "the 2019 Novel (New) CoronaVirus (2019-nCoV)" -- there are no confirmed cases in New York State, according to Nola Goodrich-Kresse, a county public health educator.

More than 50 million people in China in more than a dozen cities are locked down in an effort to contain the virus.

"The Health Departments are monitoring the situation and will be notified if any travelers from China are returning to our area," she writes in an email. "We are encouraging people to take the same prevention steps as recommended for the seasonal flu as we are still in the midst of the flu season."

Those preventative steps are:

  • Get the flu vaccination if you have not done so already;
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • Stay home if you are sick; if you are experiencing difficulty breathing or high fever, contact your primary care provider for further instructions.  Let your primary care provider or if you have to travel by ambulance, emergency services know of your travel history;
  • Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces.

The NYS Department of Health has opened a 2019 Novel (New) CoronaVirus Hotline) for questions or concerns about travel and symptoms at 1-888-364-3065 or you can visit their website here.

November 11, 2019 - 12:04pm

Press release:

The Western New York Public Health Alliance is urging everyone over the age of 6 months to get a flu vaccine to protect themselves from the effects of influenza. Influenza is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death.

Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently, but millions of people get flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands to tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year.

An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against flu. Vaccination has been shown to have many benefits including reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and even the risk of flu-related death in children.

It is important that people understand how the flu vaccine works. Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are used to make the vaccine.

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season.

Most flu vaccines in the United States protect against four different flu viruses (“quadrivalent”); an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and two influenza B viruses. There are also some flu vaccines that protect against three different flu viruses (“trivalent”); an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and one influenza B virus. Two of the trivalent vaccines are designed specifically for people 65 and older to create a stronger immune response.

It is also important to understand when to get a flu shot. You should get a flu vaccine before flu viruses begins spreading in your community, since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against flu.

Make plans to get vaccinated early in fall, before flu season begins. CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later.

Children who need two doses of vaccine to be protected should start the vaccination process sooner, because the two doses must be given at least four weeks apart.

Flu vaccines are offered in many doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies and college health centers, as well as by many employers, and even in some schools.

Even if you don’t have a regular doctor or nurse, you can get a flu vaccine somewhere else, like a health department, pharmacy, urgent care clinic, and often your school, college health center, or workplace.

For more information, please contact your local Health Department or go to the Center for Disease Control website.

The Western New York Public Health Alliance (WNYPHA) is a not-for-profit organization comprised of the Health Commissioners/Public Health directors and other community public health leaders from these eight counties of Western New York: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans; and Wyoming.

Their mission is to support collaboration across WNY to further public health initiatives and priorities. As part of this mission, the WNYPHA works to provide health education and information to prevent disease and improve population health.

September 21, 2019 - 1:00pm

Information from a press release:

U.S. senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today (Sept. 21) announced $1.3 million for Genesee County under the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program.

The senators explained that the funding will allow Genesee County to continue addressing and removing lead-based paint hazards in homes, a problem it has grappled with for years.

The purpose of the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program is to identify and control lead-based paint hazards in eligible privately owned housing for rental or owner-occupants. These grants are used to assist municipalities in carrying out lead hazard-control activities.

Schumer explained that following his relentless advocacy for Genesee County, HUD Secretary Ben Carson called him directly Friday afternoon to confirm the funding.

“During my call with Secretary Carson, I made it clear that even 40 years after the federal government banned the use of lead paint, children in the Rochester-Finger Lakes Region still continue to suffer the insidious consequences of toxic lead," Schumer said. "I’m pleased to announce that he agreed with me, and committed to sending Genesee County $1.3 million to remove lead hazards from communities.

"I’ve long fought tooth and nail for federal funding and programs that work to remove lead in area homes, because lead poisoning is an irreversible, preventable tragedy that robs too many children across the region of their futures. I couldn’t be more thrilled to announce today’s fantastic news, which will be a major boon for public health."

"No child in the Finger Lakes Region should be forced to live in a home with dangerous lead," Gillibrand said. "This funding is a critical investment to start remediation and help keep some of our most vulnerable families safe. I will continue fighting so that our communities have the federal support they need to remove lead from their homes."

March 12, 2019 - 4:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, child lead poisoning, Public Health.

Press release:

Genesee County public health officials today expressed concern that a critically important proposal to better protect children from lead poisoning will be impossible to effectively implement without an appropriate commitment of new flexible state resources.

The proposal, which passed the NYS Assembly and is also contained within the Executive Budget, would lower the acceptable blood lead level in children from 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (μg/dl) to 5 μg/dl.

Local health officials conservatively estimate that implementing and sustaining the program would increase costs to local health departments by $35 million annually. The Executive Budget proposal allocates just $9.4 million in funding, which is insufficient in both dollar amount and funding structure.

Any and all funding for this proposal must be located within the existing Lead Prevention appropriation to allow for nurses and staff to intervene. Without the proper funding struc- ture, local health departments will not be able to hire staff to meet the demands of this policy.

“Lowering the acceptable blood lead threshold is good policy, but it will trigger an avalanche of intervention demands on local health department nurses and staff,” said NY-SACHO President Paul Pettit, who also serves as Public Health director for the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments.

State Health Department data from the three years most recently reported show that nearly 500,000 children under the age of 6 had been screened for lead poisoning. In 2015 alone (the most recent year reported by DOH) 1,800 children tested above 10 μg/dl.

These children and their families required services from local health department staff to engage in the clinical and environmental response strategies necessary protect the entire household from continued lead exposure. Depending on the magnitude of the poisoning sources and required mitigation, these interventions can last days, weeks and even months.

Lowering the limit to 5 μg/dL, while sound public health policy, will dramatically increase the number of children and families who would require similar services.

Based on the five-year average incidence (from 2011-2015), if the lower limit is adopted, approximately 18,000 additional children could require services. Local health departments would be unable to respond to an increase of that scale without a commensurate increase in resources that can be used to hire staff.

“Effective public health policy requires public health resources,” Pettit said. “We will continue working with our state leaders to craft a final proposal that will deliver on its promise of better protecting our children from lead poisoning.”

October 24, 2016 - 3:27pm

Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County Public Health Column:

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is this week, Oct. 23-29. The Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming County Health Departments encourage you to learn about lead, lead poisoning, and the importance of preventative testing in order to make our community a healthier one.

Lead is a metal found in the earth and it is a poison. For years, lead was used in paint, gas, plumbing and many other items. Since the late 1970s, lead paint was banned in the United States, however other countries may not have regulations regarding the use of lead products. Lead can be found in the soil, deteriorated paint, household dust, contaminated drinking water from old plumbing, lead-glazed pottery, some metal jewelry, and at some jobsites (typically construction, manufacturing and mining).

Lead poisoning is preventable but when ingested, even a small amount can cause severe and lasting harm. Exposure to lead can happen from breathing air or dust, eating contaminated foods, or drinking contaminated water. All houses built prior to 1978 are likely to contain some lead-based paint. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 24 million housing units have deteriorated leaded paint and elevated levels of lead-contaminated house dust.

Lead dust, fumes and paint chips can cause serious health problems. Too much lead in the human body can cause serious damage to the brain, nervous system and red blood cells. Everyone, young and old, can be affected if exposed, but children and pregnant women are considered at highest risk. Young children between 6 months and 6 years old are more likely to suffer health problems from lead exposure. Lead poisoning can slow a child’s physical growth and mental development and may cause behavior problems, intellectual disability, kidney and liver damage, blindness and even death.

“New York State Department of Health requires health care providers to obtain a blood lead test for all children at age 1 and again at age 2,” said Brenden Bedard, director of Community Health Services for Genesee and Orleans counties. “Up to age 6, your doctor or nurse should ask you about ways your child may have had contact with lead.

"Pregnant women are at high risk because lead can pass from mother to her unborn baby, as well as be responsible for high blood pressure and miscarriage. Also, be concerned if you or someone in your home has a hobby or job that brings them in contact with lead."

Prevention is the key! Protect yourself and your family from possible lead exposure by talking to your Primary Care Provider about lead testing. There are also many precautions that can be taken to protect yourself and your family; here are a few. Prior to consuming food, make sure hands are washed, clean your home weekly, do not allow your child to chew on something that is dirty, avoid wearing shoes in the house, and hire a qualified professional if you suspect there is lead in your home that you want removed.

For information about this topic or Health Department services contact,

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

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 at: 589-3278 or check out our website at: www.orleansny.com/publichealth. Visit Facebook and Twitter: the user name for both is OrleansCoHealth.
  • Wyoming County Health Department at: 786-8890 or visit their web site at www.wyomingco.net/health/main.html
June 21, 2016 - 3:24pm

Press release:

Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Public Health Advisory

Keeping Wild Animals – Unsafe, Illegal and Inhumane! 

RABIES ALERT! STOP! and THINK! Do NOT touch! It can kill! Any mammal is able to get rabies, it is very important to get your pets vaccinated and not to touch or handle any stray or wild animals including baby animals and bats.

“The Health Department has had several cases where people have taken in wild animals (babies) and / or played with stray cats and dogs which have led to unnecessary post exposure treatments and/or having to put the animals down (euthanize) them to be tested," stated Paul Pettit, director of Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments.

"Because rabies is in New York State ALL wild and stray animals that come in direct contact (bitten or scratched with broken skin and saliva exchange in open wounds or mucous membranes – eyes, nose, and mouth) with humans and domesticated animals are assumed to have rabies...even if they don’t.

"The only way to know is by testing the animal, which means it has to be euthanized. Whether the animal has rabies or does not, it is dead. Not only are you putting your family and friends at risk of a deadly disease, those who think they are ‘helping’ an animal could be giving it a death sentence."

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Infected mammals can spread rabies virus to humans and other mammals through the saliva and spinal fluids. Rabies is almost always fatal once symptoms appear.

Pettit notes, “It is illegal to possess any wild animal that naturally lives in the state. Not only do these animals have the potential to spread rabies, but they often carry parasites, or may carry diseases that can be spread from animal to human.

"It is important to leave wild animals alone! More times than not baby animals are not orphaned but are kept hidden while the parents can hunt for food or stay away to protect them from predators. Nature will take care of nature. Wild animals have had to be put down because humans have interfered in their lives.”

The best way to keep pets safe from rabies is to vaccinate them and keep their shots up-to-date.

By avoiding contact with stray or wild animals, saving the bat / animal that may have had contact with humans / domestic animals, and reporting an incident to your local Health Department, we may be able to avoid unnecessary medical treatment that averages over $3,000 per person.

Take note of the upcoming FREE anti-rabies immunization clinics for dogs, cats and ferrets. The animal must be three months of age or older. Additional clinics can be found by checking the web sites or calling your local Health Department. Check your county web site for pre-registration instructions. Each dog, cat, and ferret must be accompanied by someone who can control it:

  • Genesee County: Thursday, Aug. 18, at the Genesee County Fairgrounds, 5031 E. Main St., Batavia. The clinic runs from 4 to 7 p.m. Dog, cat and ferret vaccinations are free for Genesee County residents. A $5 voluntary donation per dog, cat, or ferret, is appreciated to offset clinic expenses. Non-county residents must pay a mandatory $5 fee for each dog, cat, and ferret immunized. Speed up the registration process during the clinic by registering your pets ahead of time! To pre-register your pets visit: http://www.co.genesee.ny.us/departments/health/click_here_to_pre-register.html
  • Wyoming County: Wednesday, July 20, at the Attica Town Highway Department, Route 98, Attica. The clinic runs from 6 to 8 p.m. (Registrations until 7:45 p.m.) This is a FREE clinic to Wyoming County residents ~ Donations are gratefully accepted! Out of county residents will be charged $10 per animal.
  • Orleans County: Saturday, Aug. 27, at the Shelby Highway Department, 4062 Shelby Basin Road, Medina. The clinic runs from 9 to 11:30 a.m. You must arrive no later than 11:30 to ensure that you will be served. Clinic staff reserves the right to decline service to late (after 11:30) arrivals. To pre-register go to https://apps.health.ny.gov/doh2/applinks/cdmspr/ this site will have an Orleans County button/link before the scheduled clinics.
  • For information on Health Department services contact,

  • Genesee County Health Department at: 344-258,0 ext. 5545 or visit their website at www.co.genesee.ny.us/departments/health/index.html. Visit Facebook at Genesee County Health Department and Twitter at GeneseeCoHealthDept.

  •  Wyoming County Health Department at: 786-8890 or visit their web site at   www.wyomingco.net/health/main.html. 

  •  Orleans County Health Department at: 589-3278 or check out our website at: www.orleansny.com/publichealth.

            Visit Facebook and Twitter: the user name for both is OrleansCoHealth.

November 11, 2015 - 1:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in pertussis, whooping cough, Public Health.

Press release from Genesee & Orleans County Health Departments:

Have you and your loved ones been vaccinated against pertussis, more commonly known as, whooping cough? If so, are you still up-to-date or need a booster? If you’re unsure or need a booster it’s time to call your primary care provider.

Whooping cough is a serious and very contagious respiratory disease that can cause long, severe coughing spells and the characteristic “whooping” sound that follows when a person gasps for air. (Click whooping cough sound to hear for yourself or visit http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/materials/everyone.html). It can present like a common cold at first, but after one or two weeks a person is overcome with coughing spells so violent it likely interferes with eating, drinking and even breathing.

The bacterium is found in the mouth, nose and throat and is spread from person to person by direct contact with mucus or droplets from the infected individual(s). These episodes may occur for one to two months and are more frequent at night.

Currently, Public Health nurses in Genesee and Wyoming counties are investigating confirmed cases of pertussis (whooping cough).

Preventing this highly contagious disease is everyone’s responsibility and the best protection is getting vaccinated! Whooping cough can take a toll on anyone, but it can be deadly for babies as they are especially fragile and are unable to receive the first dose of the vaccine until 2 months old. Severe complications from having whooping cough are more common among infants and young children and may include pneumonia, middle ear infection, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, syncope (temporary loss of consciousness), dehydration, seizures, encephalopathy (a disorder of the brain), apneic episodes (brief stop in breathing) and death. 

If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms seek medical attention.

There are two versions of the vaccine depending on age:

  • DTap vaccine is given to children 2 months - 6 years old and protects against not only whooping cough but Tetanus and Diphtheria too.  Children should get 5 doses of the DTap vaccine, one dose at each of the following ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, between 15 - 18 months, between 4 - 6 years. 
  • Tdap vaccine is a booster shot that helps protect pre-teens and adults from the same diseases. The first, one-dose, Tdap booster should be given between 11 - 12 years old and every 10 years after that for greatest immunity. During pregnancy, women should get the Tdap vaccine as the antibodies will be passed to the baby, providing protection until they are old enough to receive their first DTap vaccine, and the mother will be protected against spreading whooping cough to her newborn.

According to the Immunization Action Coalition (www.immunize.org), after receiving the properly spaced primary series of DTap or Tdap, approximately 95 percent of people will have protective levels against Diphtheria and 100 percent will have protective levels against tetanus in their blood. Protection levels against pertussis (whooping cough) have an estimated range of 80 – 85 percent.

“Although DTap and Tdap are the best way to protect against whooping cough and potential complications the level of protection decreases over time just the same as Diphtheria and Tetanus ,” said Brenden Bedard, director of Community Health Services for Genesee & Orleans County Health Departments.

“It is also important to use germ prevention practices, too. Regular hand washing with soap is the best but hand sanitizer is a good option when on-the-go. Coughing and sneezing into a tissue or in the inside of your elbow, not sharing personal items, as well as disinfecting shared surfaces are good habits also.”

The single most effective control measure to prevent vaccine-preventable diseases is to maintain the highest possible level of immunization in the community. Babies, teens, adults, and pregnant women need to be vaccinated according to the CDC Recommended Immunization Schedules. Local Health departments and most pharmacies can also assist in providing vaccines although qualifications vary, please call for details.

For more information on DTap/Tdap or Health Department services contact:

August 8, 2015 - 1:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in Public Health, immunizations, vaccines, education.

Press release:

Back-to-School season is here! It’s time for parents to gather school supplies and backpacks. 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 also check their child’s vaccine records. 

“These settings are highly susceptible to outbreaks of infectious diseases,” said Dr. Gregory Collins, Wyoming County Health commissioner. “Children can easily transmit illnesses to one another due to poor hand washing, uncovered coughs, dense populations and other factors.”

To emphasize the importance of immunizations for people of all ages – and make sure children are protected with all the vaccines they need – the Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming county health departments are joining partners nationwide in recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month. 

“Getting children all of the vaccines recommended by CDC’s immunization schedule is one of the most important things parents can do to ensure a healthy future for their children,” said Paul Pettit, Genesee & Orleans Public Health director. "If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to check with your doctor to find out what vaccines your child needs.”

Vaccines protect against a number of serious and potentially life-threatening diseases.  When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk for diseases and can also spread diseases to others in their classrooms and community – including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated, and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer or other health conditions.

Talk to your child’s doctor to find out which vaccines are recommended for them before going back to school.

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:


For more information about Health Department services, use the contact information below.

May 6, 2014 - 7:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in health, anti-rabies clinic, Public Health, Insource Urgent Care.

Residents who have a run in with a potentially or known rabid animal will have another option for treatment starting June 1.

On Monday, the Human Services Committee approved a contract with Insource Urgent Care that would allow the County Public Health Department to refer clients to Insource.

The contract isn't exclusive. Patients would still be able to go to the emergency room at UMMC or the urgent care clinic at St. Jerome's if they wished.

"Insource offers a lower rate and the feedback we've been getting is it's a better experience," said David Whitcroft, environmental health director. "It's a faster in and out for the patients."

Whitcroft said Insource had sought out the contract and this was an opportunity "to enter into a contract more favorable to us.

The county pays for the initial exam and the first round of treatment, but booster shots are provided by the health department at County Building #2.

"St. Jerome's has worked out really well for us and we have a good relationship, but this is one more option," Whitcroft said.

The full County Legislature will be asked to approve the arrangement at its next meeting.

January 3, 2014 - 5:07pm
posted by Tammi Ferringer in County, genesee, Orleans, Public Health.
Company Name: 
Orleans County Health Department
Job Type: 

 The Orleans County Health Department is seeking a well-qualified, energetic individual with excellent organizational skills and interest in improving and maintaining the Public’s Health.  Re-sponsibilities include but are not limited to: planning, managing and coordinating health services governed under New York State Articles 28 and 36.

February 2, 2013 - 2:20pm

Press release:

Lake Plains Community Care Network, Inc., (LPCCN) is pleased to announce the receipt of a two-year Shared Services Learning Community grant from the Center for Sharing Public Health Services. This is a national initiative managed by the Kansas Health Institute with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“When it comes to the health of our communities, we rely on strong public health systems,” said Patrick Libbey, the Center for Sharing Public Health Services co-director. “In recent years, cross-jurisdictional sharing has shown promise as a strategy that can help health departments carry out their mission, and maximize the impact and reach of limited resources.”

The purpose of this grant is to assist Genesee and Orleans county health departments in their efforts to pursue partial or full integration of their current public health services and explore the potential for either independent or joint accreditation.

Lake Plains, the lead agency, was chosen as a neutral and non-governmental resource along with the University at Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professions to provide technical and policy advice.

A Cross Jurisdictional Sharing (CJS) is a relationship with the intention of efficiently providing residents of both counties with essential public health services with a shared-leadership model.  It is believed this model will allow both counties to experience financial savings while enhancing service delivery.

“It is also hoped this process will provide the departments with a platform to share local findings and experiences with national, state and municipal public health agencies who also aim to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of services amidst financial constraints,” said Kenneth Oakley, CEO of LPCCN.

The Cross-Jurisdictional Sharing Core Team will include Oakley, Paul Pettit, director of Genesee and Orleans county health departments, David Whitcroft, deputy director of Genesee and Orleans county health departments, and Donald Rowe, public health liaison and director of the Office of Public Health Practice at the University at Buffalo.

The Extended Team will also include Charles Nesbitt, Orleans County chief administrative officer, Jay Gsell, Genesee County manager, and up to two county Board of Health members from each county with others as appropriate.

“Our desires are clearly to maintain and where possible improve access to services while at the same time generating cost savings for both counties,” stated Mary Pat Hancock, chair, Genesee County Legislature.

The first year of the project will be a comprehensive assessment and feasibility analysis in order to determine the level of integration that would maximize the CJS relationship.

The final year of the project period would be dedicated to the implementation of the shared-leadership model based on assessment findings.

“We recognize that achieving the standards of the Public Health Accreditation Board would be the ideal way to be accountable to our residents, while improving effectiveness and performance. Therefore, we also aim to examine the feasibility of initiating the accreditation process,” said David Callard, chair, Orleans County Legislature.

Both health departments are looking forward to this opportunity that will be highly beneficial to residents.

“We look forward to sharing the lessons learned through our CJS relationship, as public health agencies across the country work to develop ways to structure high-quality service delivery in strained fiscal environments,” stated Pettit, director of Orleans and Genesee County Health Departments.

For information about the services provided by the Orleans County Health Department call 589-3278 or check out our Web site at: www.orleansny.com/publichealth. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter. Our user name for both is OrleansCoHealth.

For the Genesee County Health Department call 344-2580, ext. 5000, or visit their Web site at http://www.co.genesee.ny.us/departments/health/index.html. Genesee County Health Department is also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GeneseeCoHealthNY.


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