Public Health

Hundreds Gather to Talk About Suicide Prevention

Kevin Hines Spreads Hope


On October 29, 2018, over two-hundred community members gathered at Hobart and William Smith College to hear a message of hope from best-selling author and suicide survivor, Kevin Hines. Ontario County Public Health in partnership with the Ontario County Suicide Prevention Coalition and Hobart and William Smith Colleges worked in collaboration to host “Stories Save Lives” presented by Kevin Hines.

In 2000, Kevin attempted to take his life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. For Kevin, his first thought after he jumped was an instant regret. Kevin is among the 1% of people who have jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge and survived. Many factors contributed to his miraculous survival. Kevin now travels the world sharing his story of hope, healing, and recovery while teaching people of all ages the art of wellness & the ability to survive pain with true resilience.

Kevin Hines is a captivating storyteller. The audience laughed, cried and sat in silent meditation. Take a moment to watch his story: 

Kevin’s motto is #BeHereTomorrow reminding everyone that there is power in human spirit. By getting the help that you need, you can find the ability to live mentally well. If you need help for suicidal thoughts, please call 1-800-273-8255.

(Updated 11/7/2018)

Do Not Drink Water Advisory: CANCELED

On the morning of October 13, 2018 the Do Not Drink water advisory for  the Village of Rushville Water district (which supplies water for Middlesex Water District and two of Marcus Whitman school buildings) has been CANCELED after testing negative for blue-green algae toxin. It is safe to drink the water.

(October 13, 2018)

BABE Birth Education Class

Get Your Flu Shot!

It's not too early to get your flu shot!

Last year, 5.3 million cases of the flu were avoided and 2.6 million medical visits were prevented because of people just like YOU getting their flu shot! Thank you!! Call you health care provider or your local pharmacy and get your flu vaccine today. YOU hold the power of prevention!

(Updated 9/18/2018)

Flu Fighter 6 months and up

Emergency Preparedness

Prepare Now     Learn How

Eng Emergency PRep
SP Emergency Prep

Be Alert to Blue Green Algae

Look Before You Leap!

It is safe to swim and boat in areas of the lake without visible algae.

Blue-green algae occur naturally in bodies of water in low numbers. During prolonged hot weather algae can become abundant, discoloring water and forming scums-particularly in warm, shallow areas. Some blue-green algae produce toxins. These pose health risks to people and animals if exposed in large enough quantities. Symptoms of toxin exposure may include allergic reactions or eye, skin, nose, and throat irritation. Ingesting large amounts of water containing blue-green algae toxins has resulted in liver and nervous system damage in laboratory animals, pets, livestock and people. The public is reminded to keep dogs out of algal blooms as well.

People, pets and livestock should avoid contact with water that has scums on the surface or is discolored-blue-green, yellow, brown or red. If contact does occur, wash with soap and water or rinse thoroughly with clean water. Swimming, bathing or showering with water not visibly affected by a blue-green algae bloom is not expected to cause health effects. If symptoms of toxin exposure develop, stop using the water and seek medical attention.

Individuals should not drink untreated surface water. Home boiling, disinfecting (chlorine or UV), and filtering do not remove algal toxins. When using surface water to wash dishes, rinse with bottled water. In addition to toxins, untreated surface water may contain bacteria, parasites or viruses known to cause illness. New York State public water supplies that use surface water sources have operational controls in place to minimize the introduction of pathogens and blue-green algae in drinking water.

For additional information, including information in Spanish:

  • New York State Department of Health: Click here
  • Department of Environmental Conservation: Click here                                         (Updated 9/4/2018)

2-1-1 Lifeline

Resources in the Finger Lakes

Need to be connected with a service in the Finger Lakes Region and not sure who to call? Simply dial 2-1-1 for local resources. 2-1-1 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

2-1-1 Life Line

(Updated 8/9/2018)

See the Signs of Addiction

Save a life!

Please take a moment to watch the video and learn the signs of addiction. Click the link below to learn more about the special issues surround teenagers and their unique drug treatment needs.

Learn more about teens and drug abuse: Click here

(Updated 7/27/2018)

Prevent Lyme Disease!

Check out the graphics below!

(Updated 7/27/2018)

Lyme Disease 2
Lyme Disease 1

Ticks bugging you?

Check out the movies below.

Click the play button to view.

(Updated 7/28/2018)

Rabies Clinic

Rabies vaccine is the law. 

Check out the 2018 Rabies Clinic schedule below. 

(Updated 8/7/2018)

updated Rabies Schedule

2018 Public Health Works!

Honor Roll Award Winner

Teresa Shaffer RN

Ontario County Public Health is proud to announce that our very own Registered Nurse, Teresa Shaffer has been named to the New York State Department of Health, "2018 Public Health Works! Honor Roll." Teresa has worked tirelessly to help increase the amounts of healthy foods available to areas of need in Ontario County.

To view the list of winners:  Click here

(Updated 4/2/2018)

Teresa 3

2017 Annual Report

The Ontario County Public Health 2017 Annual Report Is Now Available!

Take a moment to read the 2017 Annual Report. Find out how your local public health department prevents, promotes and protects your health!

For the 2017 Annual Report: Click here

Copies are available! Call 1-800-299-2995 today!

(Updated 3/21/2018)


Choose Health Ontario Award Winner! 


On March 27, 2018, 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 the Finger Lakes Area Counseling and Recovery Agency (FLACRA) for their commitment to drug and alcohol recovery in Ontario County.  The award was presented at the 55th Annual Safety Awards Dinner sponsored by the Ontario County Safety Council.

Each year, the Ontario County Health Collaborative recognizes an individual or group for outstanding efforts in health and wellness promotion.  FLACRA is a non-profit agency that has been serving individuals and their loved ones touched by addiction for over four decades. Their innovative and collaborative approach has resulted in the growth of services to residents of the Finger Lakes Region. Their services include an Addictions Crisis Center, Mobile Crisis Team, Medication Assisted Treatment & Peer Support, Housing, Care Management and Outpatient Clinics. FLACRA’s expertise and programming are essential components of addressing the opioid epidemic.

OCHC is comprised of over 30 stakeholders working together to make a difference in the health of Ontario County residents by providing programs, education, tools, motivation, and opportunities for making healthy choices. The collaborative began giving the Choose Health Ontario Award eight years ago to individuals, agencies, or programs in recognition of their contributions towards supporting health in our communities. UR Thompson Hospital’s Wellness Department, Regional Transit Service (RTS) Ontario, Geneva Reads and House of John were among the worthy 2018 CHOO Award nominations. On behalf of the Ontario County Health Collaborative, we extend a special thank you to all of these organizations.

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

To read the article in the Daily Messenger: Click Here

(Updated 3/28/2018)

Looking For Addictions Treatment? 

Please see the FLACRA information below and visit the FLACRA website today!

To visit the FLACRA website Click here

(Updated 7/27/2018)

Flacra 2
Flacra 1

Support, Promote & Protect Breastfeeding

Please check out our new silent movie!

(Updated 7/27/2018)

Suicide Prevention

(Updated 7/27/2018)

Takl Saves lives 5
Talk Saves Lives 6

The Sex Drive Wraps up Year Two

Sex Drive Visual
Year two of The Sex Drive sped by at lightening speed. Click here to see a summary of all ten weeks and to print a PDF booklet. The Sex Drive, an initiative of the Finger Lakes Sexual Health Coalition, encourages 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!  

Water Testing

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).
Updated 12/1/2016

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.    

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