Ontario County Public Health In the News

Flu Cases Continue To Climb

With the number of flu cases in Ontario County continuing to rise, public health officials are still encouraging people to get a flu shot.

Mary Beer, the county’s public health director, said both A and B flu strains are prevalent in the area. Most circulating strains match this season’s vaccine.

“Vaccination against flu lessens your chance of flu complications like pneumonia and sepsis (blood infection),” Beer said. “It is not too late to vaccinate.”

To view the article in the Finger Lakes Times: Click here

(Updated 2/13/2018)

Report links overdoses, Rx drugs

According to a new report from Rochester-based Common Ground Health — formerly the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency — 54 percent of people who overdosed in the nine-county Finger Lakes region in 2016 had a prescription for opioids in the previous two years.

For non-heroin opioid overdoses, the relationship was even stronger — 68 percent of people who overdosed had prior prescriptions for painkillers. The numbers are from a study period of 2014 to 2016.

To view the article in the Finger Lakes Times Click here

To view the Common Ground Health Report  Click Here

(Updated 2/1/2018)

Gleaning picture 2

Geneva Food Justice Coalition

The Geneva Food Justice Coalition is a volunteer group that collects and distributes produce for the needy. Led by co-chairs Henry Farro and Teresa Shaffer (Ontario County Public Health Nurse), the Coalition gleaned 18,535 pounds of produce from local farms in 2017, compared to 9,850 the previous year.

“We doubled everything this year,” said Farro as he spoke at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church on Clark Street, where he serves as a deacon and which has been used as the base of operations by the group. Ontario County Public Health is very proud to work along side this grassroots effort to help provide food to those in need. 

To view the article featured in the Finger Lakes Times: Click here

(Updated 1/25/2018)

Narcan Training

Ontario County Struggles With Opioid Abuse

As overdose deaths rise, Public Health nurses teach residents the steps to provide the lifesaving drug, Narcan. Narcan is a medication used to reverse and opioid overdose. Ontario County Public Health works in collaboration with The Partnership for Ontario County to prevent drug use, FLACRA to treat drug abuse and various community agencies to administer the lifesaving drug Narcan.

To view the article in the Daily Messenger: Click here

(Updated 1/25/2018)

Flu is on the Rise This Holiday Season

CDC Warns of Increased Flu

Ontario County Public Health Director, Mary Beer urges the public to get their flu shot as soon as possible. 

Flu cases have been confirmed in Ontario County.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Ontario County Public Health warns that the number of flu cases are on the rise.  Holiday travel and family celebrations will likely cause flu cases to continue to increase.  Both A and B strains of flu have been detected.  Currently, most circulating strains match this season’s flu vaccine.

Children are at high risk for complications from influenza (especially children younger than 2 years old).  Adults over 65, pregnant women or people with a medical history of asthma, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, HIV or AIDS and cancer are also at high risk of complications from the flu virus.

The best protection against flu is vaccination. The 2017-2018 flu season vaccine includes  protection from two types of flu A and one or two types of flu B, depending on the vaccine. Unvaccinated individuals should seek out flu vaccine from their healthcare provider or local pharmacy. 

Symptoms of the flu usually occur suddenly and may include headache, fever, chills, body and muscle aches, severe fatigue, congestion and cough. Antiviral medications may shorten the length of illness and severity of symptoms.  Residents with illnesses compatible with influenza should contact their healthcare providers.

CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. Get vaccinated against the flu now. Additional strategies to prevent the flu include frequent hand washing or when not available, alcohol-based hand gels,  avoiding contact with sick people, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home from school, holiday parties and work when ill.

For more information in English: Click here

View the article featured in the Finger Lakes Times: Click here

(Updated 12/4/2017) 

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Geneva Food Justice Coalition

Ontario County Public Health is proud to support efforts to improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Geneva Food Justice Coalition has been hard at work gleaning fresh fruits and vegetables and redistributing them to groups like:

  • Families living in the Geneva Foundry contamination zone
  • Geneva Free Lunch Program
  • Geneva Salvation Army
  • Geneva Boys and Girls Club
  • Elmcrest Apartments
  • Phelps Community Center
  • Canandaigua Churches in Action

A very special "Thank You" to the Geneva Food Justice Coalition, Teresa Shaffer (Ontario County Public Health Nurse) and Henry Farro for your efforts to provide nutritious foods to people in need. (Teressa Shaffer and Henry Farro are pictured on th left. Photo credit Finger Lakes Times) 

Want to help?

Call the Ontario County Public Health if you or your service organization would like to help with the Geneva Food Justice Coalition at 1-800-299-2995.

View the article featured in the Finger Lakes Times (9/18/2017): Click here

(Updated 9/19/2017)

School bus safety

 Children's Lives Are in Your Hands

Ontario County Public Health encourages residents to share the road with school buses. Important bus safety laws to remember:

  • When a school bus displays flashing red lights, all motorists approaching the bus from either direction must come to a full stop.
  • Drivers must remain stopped until red lights are turned off and the school bus resumes motion, or until signaled to do so by the bus driver or a police officer. 
  • Simply waiting for kids to board the bus is not sufficient. Red flashing lights  must be OFF.

Section 1174 of the Vehicle & Traffic Law applies to quiet country roads and busy city streets. It also includes  four-lane roads with medians. 

View the article featured in the Daily Messenger (9/1/2017): Click here

View the article featured in the Finger Lakes Times (9/3/2017): Click here

Updated 9/3/2017

Baby Café Celebrates World Breastfeeding Week

Ontario County Public Health  works with Child & Family Resources and UR Thompson Health to provide families with parenting support, connection to community resources and no cost breastfeeding help at the Canandaigua Baby Cafe.  The Baby Cafe is open on the first and third Wednesdays of every month from 10:00-11:30 at the  Child & Family Resource center (514 South Main Street in Canandaigua). A Clinical Lactation Counselor (CLC) is available free of charge at every Baby Cafe to help mothers reach their breastfeeding goals.  All mothers are welcome to attend the Baby Cafe.

Read the entire article today! Click here

(Updated 8/3/2017)

Look Before you Locke

Look Before You Lock! 

Ontario County Public Health encourages residents to check the back seat for baby every time you get out of your vehicle. Ask your childcare provider  to call you if your baby doesn’t show up as planned. Always keep cars locked and the keys out of reach of children. If a child is missing – quickly check your car. Lastly, a car is not a babysitter. NEVER leave a child alone inside a vehicle, not even for a minute.

View the article featured in the Daily Messenger (7/19/2017): Click here

View the article featured in the Finger Lakes Times (7/19/2017): Click here

Updated: 7/20/2017

Lead Poisoning Prevention 2017 Graphic

Guest essay: Lead poisoning tests essential for children’s health

Ontario County children with high lead levels almost always have been  poisoned by lead paint in their homes after ingesting lead chips or  dust. Dust and chips can be released simply by opening a window  previously painted with lead paint. Unsafe repair practices in homes  built before 1978 can release lead dust into your home, as well. Lead  dust can poison your children.

Have your child’s blood tested for  lead, twice. For children exposed to lead, blood lead levels tend to  increase in the first two years of life and peak by 18-24 months.  Because children with lead poisoning usually don’t act or look sick, New  York State Public Health law requires all children be tested at ages 1  and 2. Repeat testing at 2 is important, because toddlers are active  explorers and put everything in their mouths. In 2016, only 50 percent  of children living in Ontario County received lead testing at age 2.

View the entire guest essay in the Daily Messenger (July 14, 2017): Click here

Updated: 7/20/2017

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Blue Green Algae

Press release pertaining to Blue Green Algae and the temporary closure of Sandy Bottom Beach on Honeoye Lake. 

View the article from the Daily Messenger (July 12, 2017): Click here


Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE's)

Every Positive Interaction With Youth Matters. Help make kids resilient!

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention notes that both positive and negative childhood experiences significantly impact adult wellness. Findings from the study note that the higher an adult ACE score,  the higher the chance of becoming a victim of violence or committing a violent act. High ACE scores are  also linked to a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, drug abuse, obesity, type 2 diabetes, pulmonary disease, stroke, cancer, heart disease and cancer. This makes ACEs  an important public health issue that merits attention and action. To know your ACE score is to know your risk.

In 2006, a group of childhood service providers, pediatricians,  psychologists and health advocates of Healthy Start in Augusta, Maine, developed a survey  to measure a person’s resiliency score. Resiliency factors like asking for help, developing trusting relationships, a positive attitude and listening to one’s feelings can  help improve a person’s life. 

Every positive interaction you have with a child has the potential to impact that child’s risk to chronic disease 20 years down the road. Foster care  workers, volunteers for Boy Scouts, Big Brother/Big Sister, sports team  coaches, community centers — these interactions matter. 

View the article featured in the Finger Lakes Times (June 28, 2017): Click here

View the article featured in the Community Health Magazine (June 28, 2017): Click here

Take the ACE and Resiliency questionnaires: Click here

Updated: 7/20/2017

Choose Health Ontario Award Presented to Geneva Resident

Deacon Henry Farro Honored for Community Work

On March 28, 2017, Jack Marren (Victor), Chairman of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors and Mary Beer, Director of Public Health, presented the Choose Health Ontario Award to 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. (Submitted March 29, 2017)

Mary Krause Mary Beer Pam Helming

2017 Women Who Make America (Makers) Award

Mary Beer Wins 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. (March 24, 2017)

Read the full article in the Finger Lakes Times: Click here

2016-2018 Community Health Improvement Plan

Top Three Priorities in Ontario County Identified

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.

View the full article from the Finger Lakes Times (January 3, 2017): Click here

Updated 7/20/2017)