Recycling Reaps Rewards: Health Department Holds Second “Caught-in-the-Act” Contest for America Recycles Day

Recycling Reaps Rewards:

Health Department Holds Second “Caught-in-the-Act” Contest for America Recycles Day

BREWSTER, NY— Plastic film is everywhere. Dry cleaning bags and store “carry-out” sacks are made of it. Paper towels and beverage cases are shrink-wrapped in it. Newspapers are delivered curbside in it and unfortunately most is not recycled. The Putnam County Department of Health is trying to change that. November 15 is America Recycles Day, and building on the success of last year’s “Caught-in-the-Act” Contest, the department is expanding it to three days in the same week.

On Tuesday, November 14; Thursday, November 16, and Friday, November 17—from 12 noon to 2 p.m. each day—the recycling coordinator from the health department will be looking for residents who recycle and rewarding them with a free reusable shopping bag, and social media recognition for their efforts. Tuesday’s event will take place in Cold Spring at Foodtown, 49 Chestnut Street and Route 9D. The remaining two events will take place at Acme Markets: on Thursday in Mahopac at 149 Route 6, and Friday in Brewster at 1511 Route 22.

“Many people don’t know you can recycle these plastic film items,” says County Executive MaryEllen Odell, “because curbside recycling does not include them. Instead they must be brought to a drop-off location, located in many of the larger stores we shop in every day. It’s the right thing to do—for yourself, your family and for your community.”

“The numbers of unrecycled plastic bags is staggering. Less than one percent are being recycled,” continues Interim Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD. “It takes a bit of extra effort to start doing it, but it becomes routine. The positive impact on our environment would be immense if everyone would do their part and make the effort. We need to continue to bring awareness to this endeavor.”

The health department works with stores in the county that are required by law

to accept plastic films. All large retail stores, or chains with more than five smaller stores, must participate. Currently there are 24 drop-off locations in Putnam County, including Home Depot, Acme, and Kohl’s in Brewster, and at Foodtown in Cold Spring. A complete list is posted online at the PCDOH website.

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 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.

Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic coming November 11

Cats can receive low-cost spay and neutering services on Saturday, November 11, at the Fifth Annual Stray HELP Community Day. The event takes place from 12 noon to 4:30 pm at the Trinity Episcopal Church Parish House, 5 Elm Street in Fishkill.

As a special Veterans Day thank you, service men and women are offered an extra low price. For a $35, they can receive spay or neutering services for their cat, as well as vaccinations and even flea threat when needed. For further information visit: www.strayhelp.org

Health Department Advises About Food Safety after Power Outage

BREWSTER, NY—When the power goes out and stays out for a period of time, the Putnam County Department of Health cautions residents to check food left in refrigerators and freezers. Bacteria can easily grow in many foods at temperatures above 41 degrees Fahrenheit and make people ill. Here are some general guidelines from the NYS Department of Health:
• Foods such as eggs, milk, meats, chicken, seafood, cooked leftovers, gravies, soups, or products with these ingredients, must be discarded if temperatures exceeded 41 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 2 hours.

  • Other foods such as fruits, vegetables, juices, cheeses and condiments, may be stored above 41 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended time. Check appearance, odor, texture and color before eating.
  • For frozen foods, if the freezer thermometer reads 40° F or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen. (If there is no thermometer in the freezer, check each package of food to determine its safety. Don’t rely on appearance or odor. If the food still contains ice crystals, it is safe to refreeze or cook.) Refreezing may cause a loss in nutrition, taste or quality.
  • Frozen foods that have completely thawed and have been warmed to temperatures above 41 degrees Fahrenheit should be discarded.
  • The motto to remember is: “WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT.”

The Health Department has been making site visits to area restaurants and other food service businesses to ensure the safety of foods offered at these establishments.
Residents can visit www.fda.gov for more information about food safety following a power outage, or they can call the Health Department at 845-808-1390.
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 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.

FREE Rabies Vaccination Clinic Scheduled for November 4

Rabies is a deadly disease. When a rabid animal bites a person or another animal, the infection can spread. Avoiding contact with wild or stray animals is important, as is vaccinating personal pets. Putnam residents are invited to bring their dogs, cats and ferrets to a FREE rabies vaccination clinic on Saturday, November 4, from 2 to 4 p.m. Sponsored by the Putnam County Department of Health, the clinic is being held at Brook Farm Veterinary Center, 2371 Route 22, in Patterson, and is open to all Putnam County residents.

Please bring photo ID as proof of Putnam County residency, as well as written proof of prior rabies vaccination. Tags are not acceptable. If you do not have a written certificate documenting prior rabies vaccination, your pet will receive a one-year rabies vaccine. All dogs must be leashed and well-controlled and cats and ferrets must be in a carrier. An animal information/release form will be available and can be completed at the clinic site. For more information and directions, please call the Putnam County Department of Health at (845) 808-1390 ext. 43127.

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 include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit the County website at www.putnamcountyny.com; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

Public Health Summit VII Draws Record Crowd

BREWSTER, NY— Breaking previous attendance records, 85 public health partners from 48 different community agencies convened at Putnam Hospital Center (PHC) last Thursday, September 7, for the seventh annual public health summit. Unlike previous years, the 2017 event focused on a single issue, health equity, and how by building a culture of equity, rather than equality, community health can be improved. Organized by the Putnam County Department of Health with support from Putnam Hospital Center, the event brought together community leaders, public health partners and residents to start a conversation about putting an equity “framework” into action.

“So much of health happens outside our walls,” said Lindsay Farrell, president and CEO of Open Door Family Medical Centers, as she welcomed the group. “It comes from who we hang out with, where we live and where we work.” These social factors determine an individual’s health as much as, maybe more than, what is passed on through a person’s genes. It is these “social determinants of health” in part that account for the fact that the U.S. ranks 28 out of 43 developed nations in the world for life expectancy, despite spending significantly more money per person on health care.
County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Putnam Hospital Center President Peter Kelly, interim Health Commissioner Michael Nesheiwat, MD, and Commissioner Michael Piazza of the department of social services and mental health, were among the community leaders in attendance. County Executive Odell spoke of her administration’s challenge to balance social and fiscal responsibilities while state-mandated programs are being defunded and vulnerable populations such as veterans are being negatively impacted. Mr. Kelly, who assumed leadership of Putnam Hospital just one year ago, applauded Putnam for its community partnerships, stronger than all he witnessed in his thirty years of health care experience.

“Health equity is about determining what an individual, or particular population needs, and then providing that, rather than simply providing the same or equal service to everyone.” said Dr. Nesheiwat. “In public health, we’re doing this when we bring our flu immunization clinics into schools, or to segments of the community where they are really needed.”
Epidemiologist Erin Pascaretti spoke about the collaborative approach labeled “Health in All Policies,” which encourages all sectors to incorporate health considerations into their decision-making. The tactic was endorsed earlier this year by the New York State (NYS) Governor’s Office with a similar plan named “Health Across All Policies,” and a heightened focus on creating age-friendly communities and policies, given the state’s rapidly aging population. The concept accounts for the reality that many social determinants of health are the responsibility of non-traditional health partners, such as housing, transportation, education, air quality, parks, criminal justice, employment and energy agencies.

Keynote speaker Andrea Beltran Ruggiero, senior director of care coordination and wellness at Open Door Family Medical Centers, reported how successful the federally qualified health center has been not only in providing a “medical home” for patients, but also incorporating behavioral health integration specialists into their care plans. For example, Brewster Open Door has increased its rates for depression screening with follow-up from 39 percent in 2013 to 69 percent so far in 2017. This was a needed service for the Putnam population, given the County’s focus on addiction issues, suicide prevention and the high reported rates of binge drinking.

The second part of the summit consisted of viewing a series of clips from “Unnatural Causes,” the acclaimed PBS documentary series. Each clip was preceded by provocative questions, and followed by an interactive discussion. Led by Barbara Ilardi, supervising public health educator at the health department, the session provided eye-opening statistics of our health care system and a segue for the next health equity event on Tuesday, October 17, at Putnam Hospital Center. Titled “Blueprint for Health Equity,” the full-day experience is being organized by HealthlinkNY Community Network, a NYS Department of Health Population Health Improvement Program grantee.

Previous summit gatherings have taken a more task-oriented approach, focusing on the Community Health Improvement Plan, known simply as “the CHIP,” and its priority areas of preventing chronic disease and promoting mental health and reducing substance abuse. However, health funders and partners are realizing that the social determinants of health must be factored in first, if true community health improvement and reduction of health care costs are to be achieved.

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 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.

Putnam County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day Scheduled for Saturday, Oct 7

BREWSTER, NY—Putnam County will hold a Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Day for Putnam County residents on Saturday, October 7. The Putnam County Department of Health and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are co-sponsoring the FREE event, scheduled from 9 am to 12 noon (rain or shine) at the Donald B. Smith County Government Campus located at 110 Old Route 6 in Carmel. Pre-registration is required.

Improper storage or disposal of hazardous waste poses a health risk to residents and their families. For this reason, the HHW Collection Day event continues to be maintained in the budget by County Executive MaryEllen Odell as an opportunity for Putnam residents to safely dispose of toxic materials such as: household cleaners, pesticides, herbicides, oil-based paint (not latex), solvents, thinners, mothballs, rodent poisons, gasoline, kerosene, small propane tanks (up to 20 pound size), etc. For a more complete list of acceptable items, see “Special Wastes” under “Recycling” on the Green Putnam webpage at http://www.putnamcountyny.com/green-putnam/.

Disposal items must be labeled and identifiable to be accepted. Items not accepted include: water-based paints (latex), used oil, lead-acid batteries, plastic bags, batteries, tires, electronic waste or any materials from commercial establishments. Materials packed into garbage or lawn bags will also not be accepted. Latex paints can be discarded by routine means, after they have been dried out.

Call early to reserve a spot. The Putnam County Department of Health number is (845) 808-1390 ext. 43150 for questions or to pre-register.

For information regarding electronic waste disposal, call your local town. Please note that household hazardous waste items are not accepted at the town electronic waste drop-off locations.

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 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.

PCDOH Schedules Three Fall Public Flu Clinics

 BREWSTER, NY— Predicting how severe the next flu season will be is always part guessing game. Experts usually look at what happens in the Southern hemisphere, where the flu season comes first. Based on that, the forecast for the upcoming flu season in Putnam, starting in October and running through next spring, is that it will be worse than last year’s.

Three public flu clinics are scheduled for the fall. Hosted by the Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH), the first clinic is Monday, September 25, at the Carmel Fire Department, Route 52 and Vink Drive in Carmel. The second is on Wednesday, October 18, at the Garrison Fire Department, 1616 Route 9; the third is Monday, October 23, at Carmel Fire Department again. The health department’s skilled and experienced public health nurses will be giving flu shots at each site from 2 to 6:30 p.m.

“Early vaccination offers the best protection,” says Michael Nesheiwat, MD, Interim Commissioner of Health. “Antibodies take about two weeks to develop, so receiving your shot early means your protection starts sooner and reduces your risk of becoming sick. Flu shots are important for other reasons as well. You save money on medical and prescription costs, and you avoid being absent from work. From a public health standpoint, flu immunization is important because it provides what we call ‘herd immunity,’ and those who can’t be vaccinated because they are too young, or have a specific medical condition, are protected as well. It is the right thing to do.”

Certain people need to be vaccinated. They include pregnant women, children 6 months through 18 years of age, people over 50 years of age, and those with chronic (long-lasting) medical conditions and those who live with them. All these groups may have serious health problems if they get the flu themselves, or they may cause serious problems for others. Health care workers are also required to get the flu vaccine in order to protect their patients.

The clinics are open to all Putnam County residents 18 years of age and older. (Proof of residency is required.) The vaccination fee is $25 for residents under 65 years of age. Those 65 years and older, or with a Medicare card, can receive the vaccine free of charge. High-dose flu vaccine is being offered for seniors, aged 65 years and older, as studies show this vaccine is more effective for this population. Nasal FluMist will not be available at the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Pneumonia vaccine will also not be available through the Health Department’s public flu clinics.

Appointments are not necessary, but a signed “Seasonal Influenza Consent Form” is required. Forms are available on the health department’s immunization page on Putnam County website at http://www.putnamcountyny.com/health/immunization under “Flu Vaccine.”

In order to streamline the registration process, people are encouraged to print and complete the form, and bring it with them to the clinic. The forms will also be available at the clinics.

More public flu clinics may be held later this year. Any future dates will be announced on the health department’s website and through social media. Flu vaccination is also offered by the Health Department in all school districts this fall for students and staff only. Check the school calendar or with the school nurse for details of these school-based clinics.

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 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.

Public Health Summit VII Draws Record Crowd

BREWSTER, NY— Breaking previous attendance records, 85 public health partners from 48 different community agencies convened at Putnam Hospital Center (PHC) last Thursday, September 7, for the seventh annual public health summit. Unlike previous years, the 2017 event focused on a single issue, health equity, and how by building a culture of equity, rather than equality, community health can be improved. Organized by the Putnam County Department of Health with support from Putnam Hospital Center, the event brought together community leaders, public health partners and residents to start a conversation about putting an equity “framework” into action.

“So much of health happens outside our walls,” said Lindsay Farrell, president and CEO of Open Door Family Medical Centers, as she welcomed the group. “It comes from who we hang out with, where we live and where we work.” These social factors determine an individual’s health as much as, maybe more than, what is passed on through a person’s genes. It is these “social determinants of health” in part that account for the fact that the U.S. ranks 28 out of 43 developed nations in the world for life expectancy, despite spending significantly more money per person on health care.

County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Putnam Hospital Center President Peter Kelly, interim Health Commissioner Michael Nesheiwat, MD, and Commissioner Michael Piazza of the department of social services and mental health, were among the community leaders in attendance. County Executive Odell spoke of her administration’s challenge to balance social and fiscal responsibilities while state-mandated programs are being defunded and vulnerable populations such as veterans are being negatively impacted. Mr. Kelly, who assumed leadership of Putnam Hospital just one year ago, applauded Putnam for its community partnerships, stronger than all he witnessed in his thirty years of health care experience.

“Health equity is about determining what an individual, or particular population needs, and then providing that, rather than simply providing the same or equal service to everyone.” said Dr. Nesheiwat. “In public health, we’re doing this when we bring our flu immunization clinics into schools, or to segments of the community where they are really needed.”

Epidemiologist Erin Pascaretti spoke about the collaborative approach labeled “Health in All Policies,” which encourages all sectors to incorporate health considerations into their decision-making. The tactic was endorsed earlier this year by the New York State (NYS) Governor’s Office with a similar plan named “Health Across All Policies,” and a heightened focus on creating age-friendly communities and policies, given the state’s rapidly aging population. The concept accounts for the reality that many social determinants of health are the responsibility of non-traditional health partners, such as housing, transportation, education, air quality, parks, criminal justice, employment and energy agencies.

Keynote speaker Andrea Beltran Ruggiero, senior director of care coordination and wellness at Open Door Family Medical Centers, reported how successful the federally qualified health center has been not only in providing a “medical home” for patients, but also incorporating behavioral health integration specialists into their care plans. For example, Brewster Open Door has increased its rates for depression screening with follow-up from 39 percent in 2013 to 69 percent so far in 2017. This was a needed service for the Putnam population, given the County’s focus on addiction issues, suicide prevention and the high reported rates of binge drinking.

The second part of the summit consisted of viewing a series of clips from “Unnatural Causes,” the acclaimed PBS documentary series. Each clip was preceded by provocative questions, and followed by an interactive discussion. Led by Barbara Ilardi, supervising public health educator at the health department, the session provided eye-opening statistics of our health care system and a segue for the next health equity event on Tuesday, October 17, at Putnam Hospital Center. Titled “Blueprint for Health Equity,” the full-day experience is being organized by HealthlinkNY Community Network, a NYS Department of Health Population Health Improvement Program grantee.

Previous summit gatherings have taken a more task-oriented approach, focusing on the Community Health Improvement Plan, known simply as “the CHIP,” and its priority areas of preventing chronic disease and promoting mental health and reducing substance abuse. However, health funders and partners are realizing that the social determinants of health must be factored in first, if true community health improvement and reduction of health care costs are to be achieved.

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 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.

National Preparedness Month Observed for Fourteenth Year; “Prep Rally” Teaches Children How to Be Safe

BREWSTER, NY — Hurricane Harvey, like others before it, shows how challenging—and yet important—it is to plan for emergencies. This September, National Preparedness Month focuses on planning. The overarching theme is “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.” In Putnam County, the 14th annual observance is being promoted by the Putnam County Community Resilience Coalition (CRC), composed of agencies from the public, private and non-profit sectors that work year-round to build a strong foundation to ensure the safety and well-being of children before, during and after disasters.

“The safety of Putnam residents is always our county’s top priority,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “Collaboration among many organizations makes this happen—emergency responders and our Bureau of Emergency Services, law enforcement, highway department workers, social services and the health department. When it comes to our children, the most vulnerable members of our community, we do everything we can to ensure their safety and protection. Building community resilience is crucial.”

To teach young children about emergency preparedness—in a fun, non-threatening way—the CRC has spearheaded efforts to bring the “Prep Rally” to after-school programs and daycare centers throughout the county. Created by Save the Children, the free program is designed to teach children, grades pre-K to 5, the basics of emergency preparedness through fun, engaging games and activities. By practicing a catchy song and dance called the “Prep Step,” children learn how to recognize risks, plan ahead and gather emergency supplies.

“Supporting the work of the CRC helps strengthen our infrastructure and our resilience,” says interim Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD. “The first step is to plan for yourself and your family. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Create a list of emergency contacts and share them among family members and close friends. Adding to, or updating your emergency supplies at home, is another easy step. These are simple things nearly everyone can do.”

Taking these initial steps is much easier with some online help at www.ready.gov and www.savethechildren.org/getready, which has all of the resources for the Prep Rally program, including tip sheets for parents. A super simple tool for families to write an emergency plan is the “Preparedness Wizard” from The National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. Find it at http://bit.ly/prepwizv2.

“Getting accurate information during an event is also important,” says Anthony Sutton, Commissioner of the Bureau of Emergency Services (BES), “You can sign up for free local and state emergency messages from NY Alert.” Real-time information about current threats can be sent to a cell phone. You pick the alerts you want and delivery by email or text. You can cancel or change at any time. Your personal information is completely protected and never shared. Sign up at www.nyalert.gov.

“Residents who want, and are in the position to do more, should consider joining the Medical Reserve Corps,” says Dr. Nesheiwat. “We still need all types of volunteers, both non-medical and medical. Help is always needed in particular with logistical support or administrative tasks.” Interested residents can find out more information by visiting the Putnam County website or calling the health department at 845-808-1390.

Raccoon Test Positive for Rabies The raccoon was removed from Putnam Plaza Shopping Center in Carmel the evening of August 14, 2017.

The raccoon was removed from Putnam Plaza Shopping Center in Carmel the evening of August 14, 2017.

Please contact the Putnam County Department of Health immediately if you or a pet had physical contact with the raccoon.

For further information or questions, call:
Health Department at 845-808-1390 (after hours – ext. 3)