Public Health

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May is National High Blood Pressure Month

High blood pressure affects 1 in 3 Americans. You may be aware that uncontrolled high blood pressure raises your risk for heart disease and stroke. Here are five surprising facts about high blood pressure.

High blood pressure may be linked to dementia.

It’s true! Uncontrolled high blood pressure during midlife (age 45 to 65) creates a higher risk for dementia later in life.

Young people can have high blood pressure.

Yes! 1 in 4 men and nearly 1 in 5 women age 35 to 44 has high blood pressure. Younger people should get their blood pressure checked at least once each year. High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke, a condition that is on the rise among younger people. You can get your blood pressure checked at a doctor's office, a pharmacy, or at many grocery stores.

High blood pressure usually doesn't have any symptoms.

High blood pressure is sometimes called the "silent killer." Because many people feel fine, they don't think they need to get their blood pressure checked. Even if you feel normal, your health may be at risk. Talk to your doctor about your risk for high blood pressure.

Many people who have high blood pressure don't know it.

11 million U.S. adults with high blood pressure aren't even aware they have it. You may be one of them. Talk with your doctor about high blood pressure today!

Women and minorities face unique risks when it comes to high blood pressure.

Women with high blood pressure who become pregnant are more likely to have complications during pregnancy. High blood pressure can harm a mother's kidneys and other organs, and it can cause low birth weight and early delivery. Women with high blood pressure who want to become pregnant should work with their health care team to lower their blood pressure before becoming pregnant. African American men and women have higher rates of high blood pressure than any other race or ethnic group.

Prevention is the key!

Make lifestyle changes today! Reduce the sodium in your diet, get more physical activity, and reduce your stress to help lower your blood pressure. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, take your medications as prescribed, see your doctor at least yearly and adopt a healthy lifestyle.

For more information visit: click here

Posted May 1, 2017
Sex Drive Visual 2

Teaching Kids about Their Bodies, Relationships and Sex

Check out The Sex Drive, an initiative of the Finger Lakes Sexual Health Coalition, encouraging parents to talk to their kids about body image, relationships and sex while in the car together. The audience is captive, the conversation is short and nobody has to make eye contact! Click here for some great ideas about how to get the conversation started.

Missed the School Nurse Snack and Chat?

On April 6, 2017 Ontario County Public Health provided an update for the nurses within our school district. Petrea Rae from the Partnership for Ontario County updated the school nurses on new drugs and methods to combat drug addiction. Chief Alice Haskins  from the Ontario County Jail spoke about services that are provided in the jail and frequently seen medical issues within the incarcerated population. The Ontario County Public Health staff provided our yearly program updates.

Watch the video below!

Finger Lakes Area Immunization Conference
The Finger Lakes Area Immunization Conference will be held at the Belhurst Castle on May 17th, 2017. This event is to give local health care providers and other interested individuals information on optimal vaccine delivery for children, adolescent's and adults.

Speakers this year include:
  • Roots of Vaccine Hesitancy (Dr. Gary Marshall)
  • How to Deal With Vaccine Hesitant Parents (Dr. Gary Marshall)
  • Pediatric Immunization Update (Dr. Candice Robinson)
  • NYSIIS Individual Office Upload (Geraldine Melnotte)
  • "Winning the Game of Life" (Rayna Dubose)
  • Adult Immunization Update- CDC (Dr. Candice Robinson)
  • Vaccine Preventable Disease (Update Kathryn Sen)
Registration is $35.00 per person, seating is limited.
Please click the link below to register.
(Created 4/14/2017)

Choose Health Ontario Award

Congratulations to Deacon Henry Farro of Geneva!

The 2017 Choose Health Ontario Award was presented to Deacon Henry Farro of Geneva for his commitment to supporting nutritional health in the community.  The award was presented at the 54th  Annual Safety Awards Dinner sponsored by the Ontario County Safety Council on March 28, 2017. Read more

(Created 3/29/2017)

Mary Krause Mary Beer Pam Helming

2017 Women Who Make America (Makers) Award
Mary Beer, Director of Ontario County Public Health has been formally recognized for her tireless efforts in the field of Public Health. Mary Beer, was one of ten women honored at the March 10, 2017 award ceremony held at the Women’s Rights Historical Park in Seneca Falls. Mary was nominated for her laser-focus on public health needs during her tenure as Ontario County Public Health Director. She has worked tirelessly to adopt a local law prohibiting smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes, on County property – efforts that have reduced smoking rates countywide. She has developed creative programs aimed at decreasing obesity, managing hypertension, preventing suicide, and fighting the scourge of the heroin crisis. A leader in her field, she is an active member of the S2AY Rural Health Network working on national accreditation procedures for public health departments in the region. Mary also believes in the importance of volunteering. She serves on a number of local boards and is an active Hospice volunteer, dedicated Rotarian, and a bell choir member.

Congratulations Mary and thank you for years of services as the Director of Ontario County Public Health.

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Annual Report, 2016

Ontario County Public Health staff members were busy in 2016. Find out what we accomplished with the help of our community partners! Check out our 
Annual Report.


Water and Lead


The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) is offering assistance with lead testing of water, for as long as funds are available. 
Click here for more information about free lead testing for water

Common Questions

How does lead get into the water we drink? 
Inmost cases, lead in drinking water does not come from the source itself but from a plumbing system such as water fixtures, pipes and solder. Water in the plumbing system can dissolve lead from fixtures, pipes and solder. This is called leaching. Soft, corrosive or acidic (low pH) water is more likely to cause leaching. Water left standing in plumbing systems over a long period of time also increases leaching. The longer the water stands in the pipes, the greater the possibility of lead being dissolved into the water.

What can I do to reduce the lead level in my drinking water? 

If the lead level is higher than 0.015 mg/l only in your “first-draw-sample”, then the source of lead in your drinking water is likely from the fixture. 

You should:

  1. Run your water to flush out lead. Run water for at least 30 seconds or until water is cold to the touch or reaches a steady temperature before using it for drinking or cooking if it hasn’t been used for several hours. This flushes lead-containing water from the fixture.
  2. Use only cold tap water for cooking, drinking or making a baby's formula. Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap; lead dissolves more easily into hot water.  DO NOT USE WATER FROM THE HOT WATER TAP TO MAKE BABY FORMULA.
  3. Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead.
  4. Replace your plumbing fixtures if they are found to contain lead. Plumbing materials, including pipes, new brass faucets, fittings, and valves, including those advertised as “lead-free,” may contribute lead to drinking water. The law allows plumbing products (such as pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings and fixtures) with a weighted average of the lead content of wet surfaces of up to 0.25% lead to be considered “lead free.”

If the lead level is higher than 0.015 mg/l in both first-draw and flush samples, your home may be served by a lead service line and/or plumbing materials in your home may contain lead. Refer to the step 4 above.

Also, consider purchasing bottled water or a water filter. Read the package to be sure the filter is approved to reduce lead or contact NSF International at 800-NSF-8010 for information on performance standards for water filters. Be sure to maintain and replace a filter device in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions to protect water quality. Any measure you take to reduce your exposure to lead should be continued until the lead source(s) has been minimized or eliminated.

Where can I get more information?
New York State Department of Health
Click here

Lead Poisoning Prevention
Click here

Certified Product Listings for Lead Reduction
Click here

Updated: 2/21/2017

Blood Pressure

It's All about Control

In Ontario County, 3 out of 10 people with high blood pressure do not have it under control.
Check out this quick video for ideas to decrease your blood pressure.  It just might save your life!
Unused Medication Drop Box Locations Can Be Found Here!

Unused Meds

2016-2018 Community Health Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan (CHA/CHIP)

In 2016, Ontario County Public Health (OCPH) worked with area hospitals, S2AY Rural Health Network and other community leaders to complete a Community Health Assessment (CHA) and develop a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). Through this effort, three priorities areas were identified.

  • Priority 1: Prevent chronic diseases (including hypertension) by  reducing the rates of obesity and tobacco use.
  • Priority 2: Increase access to preventative healthcare.
  • Priority 3: Promote mental health and prevent substance abuse.
Click on the picture below to read the 2016-2018 Community Health Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan (CHA/CHIP).
CHIP 2016
Updated 12/1/2016

Lets talk about diabetes......

Almost 86 million US adults have pre-diabetes, and 90% of them don’t know it. The numbers are staggering; 1 in 3 adults has pre-diabetes and is at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Read more...
Diabetes 10percent

Zika Virus

Zika is usually transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito in countries where the virus is prevalent in the mosquito population. It can also be shared during sex by men who are infected with the virus. Unborn babies are at risk for birth defects if their moms get Zika during pregnancy. Read more.

Resources for Providers

To order testing for Ontario County residents, call  585-396-4343 and ask for the Communicable Disease Coordinator.    

What's New with Flu?

Click here for weekly flu updates from New York State Department of Health.

Updated 12/1/2016

Stay Informed About the Former Geneva Foundry Site 

For the latest updates on the former Geneva Foundry site, visit:                  New York State Department of Environmental Conservation:
Click here 
Register for news and updates from the Department of Environmental Conservation,  Division of Environmental Remediation
Click here 
Do you have specific site related health questions? 
     Anthony Perretta
     Corning Tower, Room 1789
     Albany, New York 12237

Updated 11/23/2016