BREWSTER, NY—Due to the weather forecast, this Friday’s “Drive-Thru” flu clinic has been rescheduled to the planned rain date of Monday, October 19, at the same time from 1 to 6:30 p.m. The health department will provide vaccines to protect hundreds of residents from influenza at its office location at 1 Geneva Road in Brewster. Individuals who already have a scheduled appointment for Friday can keep that same appointment time on Monday. A new email confirmation for the rain date will be sent. If that time is not convenient on Monday, cancellations should be made via the Monday confirmation email. Appointments are still available for rescheduling and new registrants, and will be accepted until 6 a.m. on Monday, October 19.
Putnam County Sheriff’s Department staff will be onsite to assist with security and traffic control, and the Civil Air Patrol will help with crowd flow. Meanwhile behind the scenes, staff from the New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services will be on site watching with a keen eye. That is because the event also serves as a Point of Dispensing (POD) drill, a simulated test of Putnam’s local emergency response system with the ability to dispense medication smoothly and efficiently.
“The New York State Department of Health requires local health departments to perform yearly drills to maintain their preparedness capabilities,” states Connie Bueti, Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for the Putnam County Department of Health. “Maintaining and practicing these capabilities are most critical, especially during a pandemic,” she states. Many metrics are monitored to assure the drill meets necessary objectives, including the “through-put” number, or how many residents receive their vaccine in a specified period of time. Utilizing an online pre-registration system was also a necessary component of this state-mandated exercise.
Short sleeves are required to streamline vaccine administration and participants must wait 15 minutes post-injections. Carpooling is encouraged as well.
The mission of the Putnam County Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services provided directly and through collaboration include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our County website at www.putnamcountyny.com; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.
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Putnam’s In-Person Out of Darkness Walk Scheduled for October 18
Brewster, NY—This October more than ever before—mental health matters. Day-, week- and month-long observations serve as a backdrop to the effect the pandemic is having on everyone’s mental well-being. National Depression Screening Day was October 8; World Mental Health Day, October 10; Mental Illness Awareness Week runs from October 4 through 10, and finally it’s National Depression Education and Awareness Month.
People are fortunately acknowledging these issues and events, and taking action because anxiety and depression are at an all-time high as the pandemic continues. Putnam’s mental health advocates, from the health and social services departments, the Mental Health Association in Putnam, and the Suicide Prevention Task Force are joining with the Hudson Valley chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to fight stigma and reduce suicides, while raising awareness about just how common mental health issues are today.
“Our residents’ health, both mental and physical, are a top priority,” says County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “We need to share and promote all the resources we have here in Putnam and fight the stigma that is sometimes associated with mental health issues. We know times may be difficult, that is why we have to continue to spread the word about available help.” The Putnam County Crisis Intervention hotline is 845-225-1222 and it operates 24/7.
The number of results from a national online depression screening—indicating moderate to severe levels of anxiety and depression—are nearly 400,000 higher this year when compared to 2019. This is true for the six-month period since the pandemic began in March, through August. So reports Mental Health America, the nation’s leading nonprofit promoting mental health for all, which has a variety of mental health screenings free of charge on their website at www.mhanational.org. In Putnam County, calls to the Crisis Intervention Hotline have doubled since COVID began.
Executive Director Megan Castellano of Putnam’s Mental Health Association (MHA) and Coordinator Marla Behler of the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) of Putnam County, together chair the Suicide Prevention Task Force. They urge everyone to reach out to support family and friends as much as possible, while also paying attention to self-care. This means becoming familiar with not only the resources available in the county but also the potential warning signs that may indicate someone is experiencing mental distress or having thoughts of suicide.
“We have passed the six-month point in this pandemic. Many people have been hanging on because they thought the end was in sight. What started out as a sprint, however, has turned into a marathon,” says Ms. Castellano, “with food shortages and finances as serious continuing concerns. These stressors weigh heavy on everyone. It is important for people to understand that any feelings of anxiety and depression are completely normal in this situation.”
Ms. Behler agrees, saying that “Family stress is at a high point right now. Some have been home alone with the same group of people for these many months. Even in the best situations this can be difficult. Additionally, now that school has started and re-openings are occurring in different formats, many children are back officially learning from home at least part of the time. So parents are trying to navigate this as well. For those children who are in the schools, there is undeniably a different environment, as teachers deal with added responsibilities and challenges.”
Other residents have nearly the opposite reality, being home alone experiencing isolation and lack of social connectedness. The question is what people can do about all these feelings.
“The answer is first to acknowledge and validate them,” says Ms. Castellano. “Then encourage people to reach out and connect with personal and County support systems. In addition to our County’s crisis hotline, at the Mental Health Association we have recovery coaches that can be a support team member for those who can use extra support. The recovery coaches are not crisis workers. They are trained, objective listeners who have knowledge of community-based resources and supports, many of whom know what it’s like to struggle with anxiety and depression offering a unique and specialized lens. The phone number is 845-278-7600 to reach a recovery coach or for a referral.”
Commissioner of Health Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD, and the Commissioner of Social Services and Mental Health Michael Piazza, also emphasize that help is available. “Many agencies providing mental health and/or substance abuse treatment services have moved online to provide telehealth since COVID-19 emerged last spring,” says Dr. Nesheiwat. “The take-away message is clear: you are not alone.” Promoting mental health has been officially identified as one of Putnam’s top health improvement priorities through the department’s work with community partners during the last two “CHIP” cycles, beginning in 2013. The CHIP, short for Community Health Improvement Plan, is mandated by the NYS Department of Health.
Commissioner Piazza describes other valuable County resources, including FIRST LINE, a “warm line” for law enforcement and emergency personnel. “This is 24/7 peer-to-peer phone support for police officers, firefighters, emergency services providers, corrections officers and dispatchers, as well as their families,” he explains. “We also have a separate Vet2Vet ‘warm line’ for Veterans and their families.” Both lines offer free, confidential, 24/7 peer-to-peer support. The number for FIRST LINE is 845-745-0088; the support number for all Veterans, regardless of discharge status, is 914-519-8097.
Other resources are available from the New York State Department of Mental Health and the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The NYS COVID-19 Emotional Support Helpline, staffed by specially trained volunteers 7 days a week,
8 a.m. to 10 p.m., can be reached at 844-863-9314. More information, available in 11 languages, is available at www.nyprojecthope.org/. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a network of over 170 local crisis centers, provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24/7 and best practices for professionals. The number 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). Options exist for individuals who speak Spanish, are deaf and hard of hearing, or those who prefer a “chat” format. More information is available at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
In addition to learning about and using available County resources, residents are encouraged to support the Out-of-the-Darkness Walk on October 18 in whatever way they feel comfortable. Residents can raise awareness about mental health, fundraise online and/or participate in the in-person walk while practicing public health measures of masking and distancing. All organizing staff and volunteers will be wearing masks and gloves, and hand sanitizer will be provided along with masks for those who have forgotten their own. More information is available under “Events” at www.afsp.org/chapter/hudson-valley-westchester.
More information about the Mental Health Association and their multiple continuing services for youth and others is available online at www.mhaputnam.org. More information about the CAC of Putnam County is available at www.putnamcac.org.
The mission of the Putnam County Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services provided directly and through collaboration include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our County website at www.putnamcountyny.com; or visit our social media sites on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @PutnamHealthNY.
Putnam County Mental Health Telephone Resources
- Putnam County Crisis Intervention hotline: 845-225-1222 (24/7)
- FIRST LINE (law enforcement and emergency services): 845-745-0088 (24/7)
- PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Vet2Vet Veterans Warm Line: 914-519-8097 (24/7)
- NYS COVID-19 Emotional Support Helpline: 844-863-9314 (8am to 10pm/7 days)
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) (24/7)
- Mental Health Association of Putnam: 845-278-7600
Putnam County residents who would like to attend the October 16 drive-thru flu vaccination clinic can now make their required appointment online. Find out how our drive-thru clinics works and make your appointments by visiting https://www.putnamcountyny.com/seasonalfluclinic/.
The October 16 Drive-Thru clinic is being offered at the Putnam County Department of Health, located at 1 Geneva Road in Brewster from 1 pm to 6:30pm for Putnam County residents, 18 years of age or older.
Consent form must be completed and signed prior to the clinic, and presented at the time of the clinic, along with proof of residency (Driver’s License). Consent forms will not be available at the clinic. Forms are available here.
Appointments are required and residents must comply with COVID-19 precautions. All residents must remain in their vehicle with a face covering. Short sleeves are necessary for vaccine administration.
NO MASK – NO SHOT
Cost of the flu vaccine is $25. For persons age 65 and older or with a Medicare card, flu vaccine will be free. High dose flu vaccine will be available for those 65 and older.
Last week, we saw an increase in new COVID-19 cases in Putnam County.
Along with the alarming increases in Orange and Rockland Counties in our region, we need to be aware and double-down on our efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus:
- Only go out when necessary.
- Wear your mask when you must go out.
- Keep your distance in public.
- Wash your hands often.
- Make sure to answer your phone when the NYS Contact Tracing Team calls.
With the increasing number of positive cases and contacts to these cases, there is sometimes a delay in information for the contact tracers to begin their calls. If you were notified or think you were in close contact with a person who tested positive, learn how to safely quarantine here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html
We know this is tough, but we are Putnam Strong! We can come together to keep our families, neighbors and communities healthy.
The Carmel Central School District flu vaccination clinic on October 9 from 1pm to 6pm is rescheduled to a date yet to be determined.
The Matthew Paterson Elementary School flu vaccination clinic the morning of October 9 is also rescheduled to a date yet to be determined.
Attention Putnam Residents! Bring your dogs, cats, and ferrets to a FREE rabies vaccination clinic on Saturday, November 7th from 10am-12pm. Sponsored by the Putnam County Department of Health, the clinic is being held at Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park (Upper Park), 201 Gipsy Trail Road, Carmel, and is open to all Putnam County residents.
Please bring photo ID as proof of Putnam County residency, as well as proof of prior rabies vaccination. Tags are not acceptable. If you do not have proof of prior rabies vaccination, your pet will receive a one-year rabies vaccine. All dogs must be leashed and controlled. Any dog that may become aggressive must be muzzled. Cats and ferrets must be in carriers, no harnesses. All animals must be supervised by an adult with the minimum number of people necessary. COVID-19 guidance must be followed including social/physical distancing and face coverings are required.
For more information and directions, please call the Putnam County Department of Health at (845) 808-1390 ext. 43160.
If you worked at or visited Fuente de Gracia Church at 2 Marvin Ave, Brewster on Sunday, September 27 from 6pm to 9pm
You may have been exposed to COVID-19.
A member of the public who has tested positive for COVID-19 was at the church during this time. Please watch for symptoms of COVID-19 which include fever, chills, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.
Contact your physician with any concerns.
Please visit our website for testing information www.putnamcountyny.com/health/coronavirus/
If you have any questions, please contact the Putnam County Department of Health at 845-808-1390.
AVISO DE SALUD
Si usted trabajó o visitó la Iglesia Fuente de Gracia en la 2 Marvin Ave, Brewster Domingo 27 de Septiembre
de 6 p.m. hasta las 9 p.m. Es posible que haya estado expuesto a COVID-19.
Un miembro de la comunidad salió positivo para COVID-19 y estuvo en la iglesia durante este tiempo.
Por favor este pendiente y vigile para síntomas de COVID-19 que incluyen fiebre, escalofríos, dificultad
para respirar, fatiga, dolores musculares o corporales, dolor de cabeza, nueva pérdida de sabor o olfato,
dolor de garganta, congestión, nariz mocosa, náuseas, vómitos o diarrea.
Llame a su médico si tiene preguntas o síntomas.
Visite nuestro sitio web para obtener información sobre las pruebas para COVID-19 www.putnamcountyny.com/health/coronavirus/
Si usted tiene peguntas por favor llame al Departamento de Salud del Condado de Putnam al 845-808-1390