Health Department is Going “Batty”

Brewster, NY— No doubt about it: it is bat season everywhere including Putnam. Bat populations normally rise in the warmer months and this year has been no different. So far this summer 61 bats have been brought in for testing to the Putnam County Department of Health. That is up about 35 specimens from last year at this time, and a sign that the capture-the-bat message is getting out. Unfortunately the health department still hears about bats being captured and then set free outside, leaving residents undergoing treatment that probably could have been avoided, if the bat had been available for testing.

“This increase in turned-in bats is great news,” explains Allen Beals, MD, Commissioner of Health. “It means we are doing our job and getting the message out that capturing a bat found in a home is so important. If the bat cannot be tested, many prophylactic treatments to prevent rabies are necessary. When the bat is caught and turned into the health department, we test it and can avoid the unnecessary and costly treatments.”

Rabies remains one of the most deadly viruses, with a 100% fatality rate if untreated. Fortunately, post-exposure prophylactic treatment is completely effective if started before symptoms begin.

The health department’s specimen prep room, where the bats are prepared for testing, opened last January making this summer the first season it has been operational. The dedicated, consolidated space provides proper ventilation for handling noxious materials. Renovations were completed with the support of County Executive MaryEllen Odell, by Putnam County personnel, making it highly cost effective. Together with the capture-the-bat initiative and the Feral Cat Task Force, the prep room enables the PCDOH to reduce the number of expensive rabies treatments in the county.

To safely capture a bat, watch the popular demo from New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) available on the Putnam County Department of Health’s website and the NYSDOH website. The video has also been posted on the PCDOH social media sites, Facebook and Twitter as well.

All possible bat exposures should be reported immediately by calling 808-1390. (If it is after hours, press extension “3” for instructions.)

The Health Department’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit the PCDOH website at or visit the social media sites on Facebook at and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.


Run 4 Your Life 5K Race/ 1 Mile Walk/ ½ Mile Kids’ Fun Run: Sunday, September 7th


  • START & FINISH: Putnam County Department of Health, 1 Geneva Road, Brewster, N.Y.
  • $15.00—“Early Bird” registration (before August 31) for the 5k Race and 1 Mile Walk.
  • $20.00 —After August 31 and on race day, between 8:30 and 9:30a.m.
  • FREE—Half-Mile Kids’ Fun Run (12 years old and younger), registration required.
  • RACE AWARDS: First overall male and female.
  • Male/Female awards for top 3 in each age category.
  • Commemorative medals for all Kids’ Fun Run finishers.
  • Complete registration electronically below (credit card or e-check) OR click HERE to fill out the registration form and mail in your check. Make check payable to: Commissioner of Finance.
  • Mail to: Putnam County Department of Health, 1 Geneva Road, Brewster, NY 10509.

Check out the course for our September 7 RUN 4 YOUR LIFE event…gentle, rolling hills, partly shaded, paved and unpaved roads.

Select an Event that you would like to register for.



Eat Smart Restaurant Week: September 7th- 21st

Eat Smart Restaurant Week is coming. During the weeks of September 7 – 21, participating restaurants will be offering 2 to 3  delicious and healthy menu entrees that make the best of fresh ingredients in appropriate portion sizes. Health Department nutritionists will work with restaurant chefs to perfect the entrees of their own choosing and ensure they meet healthy guidelines for fat, calories and sodium. To date, over 40 local food establishments have signed up to participate.

With the increasing concern for weight management and health, the ultimate purpose of the two-week event is for residents to enjoy a wonderful dining experience, and at the same time, have an opportunity to learn about healthy eating.

What is Eat Smart Restaurant Week? Read More

Click here for Participating Restaurants


In attendance for the logo reveal were from left: President of the Putnam County EDC Meghan Taylor; Director of Tourism Libby Pataki; chef Rich Parente, owner of Clock Tower Grill; Commissioner of Health Allen Beals, M.D.; County Executive MaryEllen Odell; nutritionist Kristine Boyle, Health Department, and sanitarian Shawn Rogan, Health Department.


Supervising public health educator Barbara Ilardi welcomes group.


Logo reveal


Logo reveal


Rich Parente, left, owner/chef of Clock Tower Grill and Dr. Beals, Putnam County Commissioner of Health


Clock Tower Grill chef and owner Rich Parente

zombie art 3 jpeg

September is National Preparedness Month. Join us for the 2nd Annual Movie Night on September 26. Read more…..

World War Z has been selected by popular vote for the 2nd Annual MOVIE NIGHT for National Preparedness Month. Taking the lead from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the PCDOH has taken a zombie theme to increase awareness about being prepared. Residents were polled at the recent 4-H Fair, July 25-27. The event, hosted by the Putnam County Department of Health, is scheduled for Friday, September 26. Showtime is 7 p.m. Expert panelists will answer questions on preparedness following the movie. Admission is free, along with free popcorn, free “homemade” emergency food samples, and a free raffle for a crank radio. The location is the TOPS Auditorium, 110 Old Route Six, on the Donald B. Smith campus in Carmel, NY.


Lunch & Learn : Couch to 5k

James Kelly, second from left, an accomplished runner and triathlete, personal trainer and coach from NYSC, spoke today at a Lunch & Learn in the TOPS auditorium. The topic was “Couch Potato to 5K,” and he discussed how you can gradually build your endurance and strength, overcome obstacles, and accomplish your personal fitness goals. The event was organized by the Putnam County Wellness Committee and Department of Health’s Run 4 Your Life Race Committee, seen here from left: Susan Hoffner, Robert Morris, Christina Walsh and Jane Meunier-Gorman.

Lunch & Learn-Run4Your Life committee-cpdIMAG6150 IMAG6146 IMAG6135



Brewster, NY—Health Commissioner Allen Beals, MD, spearheaded the efforts of his department last Saturday to reach out to the business community. The occasion was the Putnam Business Expo held at Putnam Hospital Center and Dr. Beals was promoting three new initiatives of the PCDOH—the Workplace Wellness Pilot program, the Run 4 Your Life event on September 7, and the Eat Smart Restaurant Week, a collaboration with Putnam food establishments, which will run from September 7 through 21.

The Health Department’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our website at; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

Rabies thumbnail

Rabies Concerns Increase with Warmer Temperatures


Date:               June 2, 2014

Contact:         Barbara Ilardi, Public Information Officer, 845-808-1390

Rabies Concerns Increase with Warmer Temperatures

Brewster, NY— With warmer temperatures finally here, people are spending more time outdoors and the potential for contact with wildlife increases. Raccoons, skunks and foxes, as well as feral cats, can carry the rabies virus, which is found in the saliva and nervous tissue of an infected animal. Exchange can occur through an animal bite, or if saliva comes in contact with an open wound, or an individual’s eyes, nose or mouth.

Spring is also the time of year when individuals may unnecessarily come into contact with baby wild animals, such as raccoons, believing them to have been abandoned by their mother. Baby wild animals may have been exposed to the rabies virus and can pass it on to you if you are bitten or scratched. Abandonment by the mother is unlikely, and there are wildlife rehabilitators who can be called to determine if the babies need to be “rescued”.

To educate children about the risk of rabies, teach them to:  Avoid wild animals, including new litters of baby animals in spring. (Everyone should resist the urge to touch or pet a wild animal or unfamiliar pet.)  Tell an adult about any contact with a wild animal or unfamiliar pet.  Never touch a bat. If a bat is found indoors, call the Health Department.

While wildlife and feral cats may account for a significant number of required rabies treatments, the number-one reason for treatments in Putnam County remains bats. As the weather warms, bats return to the local area and are more active and likely to get into homes. A bat found in the home should be captured since this is the only way to avoid unnecessary treatment, a three week series of shots. A video on how to capture a bat is available on the New York State Department of Health’s website at:

The Feral Cat Task Force, initiated by the Putnam County Department of Health, works to reduce the risk of rabies exposure by decreasing the population of feral cats in our community. This program has captured, neutered, vaccinated and returned 250 cats in Putnam County, since it began in 2012. If you are interested in volunteering or making a donation in support of this program, please contact the Health Department at 845-808-1390 ext. 43160

All animal bites and/or contact with wild animals should be reported promptly to the Department of Health at 845-808-1390. After hours or on weekends/holidays report the incident by calling the Environmental Health Hotline at 845-808-1390 and press “3.” A Health Department representative will promptly return your call. The Health Department will test any animal for possible rabies after an incident involving human or pet contact. If a family pet encounters a wild animal, avoid immediate handling, or use rubber gloves and call the Health Department.

The Health Department’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the county’s nearly 100,000 residents through prevention of illness and injury. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our website at or on Facebook at and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.



The 9th Annual Children’s Expo & Safety Fair was a success!

Contact: Michelle Martine, CAC—845-808-1300, x44122

DSC_0823 DSC_0789 DSC_0786


The 9th Annual Children’s Expo & Safety Fair took place at the Donald B. Smith County

Government Campus in Carmel on Saturday April 26, 2014. Hundreds of people attended the

event which was organized by the Child Advocacy of Putnam County (CAC) and the Bureau of

Emergency Services (BES). Eric Gross once again sponsored the event in honor of his wife

Barbara, who lost her battle with cancer in 2011. Barbara Gross, an educator in both the Carmel

and North Salem districts, was a strong advocate for children’s education and safety. Other

sponsors included Putnam County Tourism, Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, and Durants

Party Rentals.

The overall goal of the event is to promote community education and awareness around

keeping children safe. Marla Behler, Program Coordinator of the CAC said “It is a unique

collaboration between multiple agencies-which allows Putnam County residents to experience a

fun day while also learning about the available resources and meeting the people who work

around the clock to serve them! We are very proud of the overall success of this program which

is now in its 9th year and grateful to all our partner agencies and to the public for making this a

significant community event.”

In addition to live radio broadcasting, participants were entertained with a magic show

performed by Danny Diamond, an animal safety demonstration by Jan Berlin, a NYSEG live wire

“electrical safety” demonstration and a UMAC martial arts demonstration. A few new vendors to

the fair this year included: WIC (Women, Infants & Children), Immunizations, and

Maternal/Child Health, Early Intervention, Community YMCA, Just for Kicks Martial Arts

Center and the RISE program from Putnam Family & Community Services. There was plenty of

food, games (provided by 4H) and raffle give-aways. Two lucky children even walked away with

a new bicycle donated by Arms Acres Liberty Management.

The emergency service coordinators and local fire and EMS agencies demonstrated their

services. Old favorites such as the Life Net helicopter tour, 911 tours, a dive team demonstration,

auto extrication and fire safety awareness were conducted. 80 Operation Safe Child ID’s were

provided by the Sheriff’s Office to ensure that if a child goes missing, his/her picture and

information is documented and can be swiftly provided to law enforcement to facilitate the

search. Additionally, about 25 different agencies/organizations provided information on child

health and safety to families.

A special thank you goes out to Rebecca Bertoldi for her expertise and assistance in

producing this year’s magazine titled “Putnam County Safe Families”. The publication included

several articles, submitted by various organizations focusing on helpful information and facts

about injury prevention. Topics ranged from firearm safety to toddler-proofing your house,

emergency preparedness and suicide prevention.

Overall, it was a fun-filled, educational day for the whole family!


Putnam County Pushes For More Composting


Date:       May 7, 2014
Contact:  Barbara Ilardi, Public Information Officer, (845) 808-1390

Putnam County Pushes For More Composting 

Brewster, NY—The Putnam County Executive Office and the Department of Health are encouraging residents to take up composting, an easy and convenient easy way to reduce solid waste, keeping it from landfills and incineration.

“Nearly one-third of garbage could be recycled and reused,” explains County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “Composting is a practical way to handle yard waste and certain types of household waste. The health department aims to make it even easier by providing composting bins at low cost to interested residents. It saves money on peat and fertilizer, and ultimately has the potential to reduce garbage carting fees,” County Executive Odell continued.

“Composted matter can be used as mulch or for soil enrichment, depending on how long it is left to decompose,” adds Allen Beals, MD, Commissioner of Health, Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH). “It’s actually not so much waste material, as it is raw material, great for the vegetable garden and part of an overarching farm-to-table, sustainability plan.”

The whole process is relatively simple. Organic food waste, yard waste and certain types of recyclable paper products are collected and placed in a receptacle. The pile must be kept moist and aerated, which promotes decaying.

Compost piles work best with the right balance of carbon and nitrogen to enhance the bacterial action. Ingredients should include “browns” and “greens,” in composting lingo. Browns provide the carbon source, and include leaves, straw, wood chips and sawdust; greens provide nitrogen and include fruit and vegetable wastes, coffee grinds, grass clippings and/or manure. It is best to leave meat and dairy scraps out, along with pet waste. The more the pile is turned, the faster it will ready itself.

The PCDOH will have “The Earth Machine” model available (10.5 cubic foot volume) for approximately $55. (Retail value $109.) The bin will be on display and pre-orders will be taken at the following upcoming events: Saturday, May 17, at the Master Gardener Plant Sale, 1 Geneva Road, Brewster; Sunday, June 1, at Birds of Prey Day at Green Chimneys, 400 Doansburg Road, Brewster; and July 25, 26 and 27 at the 4-H Fair in Veterans Memorial Park, Carmel. Pre-ordering is necessary. For more information on the PCDOH composting initiative, visit the health department webpage at or call the department at 808-1390, extension 43164.

The Health Department’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our website at; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at  and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.


Mary Rice from the Health Department gives County Executive MaryEllen Odell an overview on the benefits provided by a composting bin.