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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
posted by Billie Owens in Public Health, pets, rabies, health advisory, news, Announcements.

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:

https://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/immunization/schools/updated_school_imm_requirements.htm

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

May 6, 2014 - 7:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in health, rabies, 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 Vin Henning in County, genesee, Orleans, Public Health.
Company Name: 
Orleans County Health Department
Job Type: 
Full-Time

 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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