Putnam County Goes Red to Honor Judge Reitz and Support Heart Health for All

BREWSTER, NY—Despite the rainy, cold weather, dozens of Putnam County employees from commissioners to clerks, came out on Go Red Day to honor Honorable Judge James F. Reitz who passed away suddenly from a fatal heart attack last June. His widow Barbara joined the group in support of Go Red Day, the first Friday of every February, which is designated as American Heart Month. Every year, from coast to coast, Americans unite for a common goal—the eradication of heart disease and stroke. The slogan, Go Red for Women, calls attention to the fact that more women die every year of heart diseases than all cancers combined.

The overarching message is to encourage everyone, men and women, to spread the word and get your numbers checked. A basic annual physical and bloodwork should check your heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol.

In April, residents will have the opportunity to join the 2020 Putnam Heart Walk, which will also honor Judge Reitz. Walkers can recognize him further by joining the community team called “‘Honoring Our Heart,’ Remembering Judge James F. Reitz.” The event takes place on Sunday, April 26, 2020 at 9 a.m. at Brewster High School. Walking is a heart-healthy exercise and participants can join this community team or create their own. Either way they will be joining with the American Heart Association to create a world of longer, healthier lives free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke by participating, fundraising, volunteering or sponsoring the Heart Walk. To learn more, visit www.PutnamHeartWalk.org and register!

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, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit the PCDOH website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health or visit the social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

PCDOH Novel Coronavirus Bulletin: Currently No Cases in Putnam

Brewster, NY-  With the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declaring the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) a public health emergency, the Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) wants to assure residents that at this time there are no known cases of the novel coronavirus in Putnam. The risk to the general public remains low. Should the risk of exposure to this virus increase, county officials are prepared to respond.

“When it comes to emergency preparedness, our county and community partners consistently work together to ensure our residents remain safe. Regarding this particular health risk, our Bureau of Emergency Services, law enforcement and health department remain up-to-date regarding the latest developments and they maintain communication with Putnam Hospital Center as well as other local health care providers,” says County Executive MaryEllen Odell.

Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, M.D. also reminds everyone that, “While novel coronavirus can cause severe illness, it is not an immediate health concern for Putnam residents. However, if there were a case, residents would hear about it directly from the department of health. We are in daily contact with both the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We update our protocols under their direct guidance based on the most up-to-date developments.”

Testing for this new type of coronavirus is performed in cooperation with both the local and state departments of health. Both the PCDOH and the NYSDOH continue to work together to keep residents informed. For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus, visit https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/.

“Remember that the best way to prevent the spread of viruses is avoid exposure and to practice hand hygiene. The influenza virus continues to be widespread in our area, and it is not too late to get a flu vaccine,” continues Dr. Nesheiwat. Health officials continue to recommend everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

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 Clinic for Pets and Feral/Community Cats

A low-cost spay/neuter clinic has been planned in Fishkill on Thursday, February 20. Here’s an opportunity to have your private pets and feral/community cats spayed or neutered for just $70. Appointments are required and can be made by calling Paula at 845-206-9021.

Putnam Goes Red on Friday, February 7

County Employees to Gather on Court House Steps to Call Awareness to Heart Health Month

BREWSTER, NY— On Friday, February 7, people in Putnam County and across the country, will be wearing red to raise awareness about how common cardiovascular diseases are and to call attention to the fact that more women die of these diseases than all cancers combined.

“We all know someone affected by heart disease or stroke,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “Go Red Day hits particularly close to home this year. Our community suffered a great loss this past year with the shocking and tragic loss of the Honorable James F. Reitz. I hope you will all join me in wearing red on Friday to remember him and to remind your family and friends that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women too.”

“All genders and ethnicities are impacted by cardiovascular disease,” said Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD., Commissioner of Health. “Most people think that the telltale sign of a heart attack is extreme chest pain. But among women, sixty-four percent of who die suddenly of coronary heart disease experience more subtle warning signs, such as shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. Because symptoms vary so much between men and women, the warning signs in women are often misunderstood or not recognized.”

Go Red Day calls attention to these facts and the overarching message is to encourage everyone, men and women, to spread the word and get your numbers checked. A basic annual physical and bloodwork should check your heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol.

In April, residents will have the opportunity to join the 2020 Putnam Heart Walk, which will also honor Judge Reitz. Walkers can recognize him further by joining the community team called “‘Honoring Our Heart,’ Remembering Judge James F. Reitz.” The event takes place on Sunday, April 26, 2020 at 9 a.m. at Brewster High School. Walking is a heart-healthy exercise and participants can join this community team or create their own. Either way they will be joining with the American Heart Association to create a world of longer, healthier lives free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke by participating, fundraising, volunteering or sponsoring the Heart Walk.  To learn more, visit www.PutnamHeartWalk.org and register!

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, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit the PCDOH website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health or visit the social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealthy and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

2019 Novel Coronavirus Information

What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

What is a novel coronavirus?

A novel coronavirus (CoV) is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in December of 2019.

What is the most recent information about 2019-nCoV?

2019-nCoV has since been identified outside of China, in a growing number of countries, including the United States. The first US case was identified on January 21, 2020 and the second case was announced on January 24, 2020. Both cases reported travel to the Wuhan Province in China and neither reside in NYS. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring the outbreak caused by the novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. For the latest information about 2019-nCoV, visit the CDC 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China webpage.

How are coronaviruses spread?

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Since the 2019-nCoV is newly identified, it is being carefully studied by health officials to determine how it is spreading. Some coronaviruses have previously been transmitted person-to-person after close contact with an infected individual. There is more to learn about the 2019-nCoV. Health authorities are continuing to watch how the virus spreads, and the PCDOH will update this site as new information becomes available.

What are the symptoms?

Patients with confirmed 2019-nCoV infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness similar to pneumonia, with symptoms of:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath

What can travelers do to protect themselves?

  • The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Wuhan, China. Chinese officials have closed transport within and out of Wuhan, including buses, subways, trains, and the international airport. If you must travel:
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease and should discuss travel to Wuhan with their healthcare provider.

What should I do if I (or someone I know) traveled to Wuhan, China?  

If you recently traveled to Wuhan or have been in close contact with someone who has confirmed novel coronavirus 2019 and you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should:

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to the doctor’s office or emergency room, you must call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Is there treatment for 2019-nCoV?

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV infection. People infected with 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.

What can I do to protect myself?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. We recommend everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

 

Resources:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html

https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/ 

https://www.putnamcountyny.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/NYSDOH-Advisory.-Update-and-Interim-Guidance-on-Outbreak-of-2019-Novel-Coronavirus.pdf

Cold Winter Weather Increases Health Risks for Lung Cancer; Protect Your Health—Test Your Home Now in Radon Action Month

BREWSTER, NY— Radon is the number-one cause of lung cancer among people who don’t smoke. For residents who do smoke, the combination of the two may cause worse health results. Putnam has been classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a “high risk” radon zone. This naturally occurring odorless gas can seep into homes. In winter when homes are sealed up to keep the heat in, trapped radon gas is a particular danger. That’s why the EPA designates each January as National Radon Action Month. Smoking is a serious risk all year long, but much like radon, second-hand smoke has less chance of escape in winter.

“To protect our residents’ health, I urge home owners to test for radon, and if you smoke, consider quitting or cutting down for the New Year,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “Testing for radon in a home is not difficult; quitting smoking on the other hand usually takes multiple attempts,” she added.

Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD, agreed, pointing out that “An easy, convenient do-it-yourself testing kit can be purchased at most hardware stores and online. Putnam has high rates of lung cancer, so it is important to talk about and work to reduce these two risks. In addition to being in a high radon region, Putnam has higher smoking rates at 18.3 percent, compared to all New York State where the rate is 14.5 percent.”

The EPA estimates radon gas claims the lives of about 21,000 Americans each year. The natural decay of uranium leads to the release of radon in rock, soil and water. High levels of radon in homes usually come from the surrounding soil. Radon gas enters buildings through cracks and openings. Radon-resistant construction can be utilized when building new homes; older homes must be tested. Because radon levels can vary from one house to another, the only way to know for sure is to test every home.

For $11, the New York State Department of Health offers short-term radon testing kits, which includes the lab fee. The test remains in the home for a number of days and then the kit is sealed and mailed in for analysis. Results are typically returned to the homeowner within a few weeks. Similar test kits can also be purchased at local home and hardware store. Elevated radon levels can be corrected by handy homeowners, or by certified radon mitigation contractors. To learn more about radon, or to order a test kit through NYS and discover mitigation options, visit the state website, or contact them by phone at 518-402-7556. Or call the health department at 845-808-1390, extension 43163.

For residents who would like to quit smoking, help is also available from the health department. The American Lung Association has developed a “gold standard” quit program, called Freedom from Smoking. The Putnam County Department of Health offers the eight-week Freedom From Smoking workshop sessions a couple of times a year, and offers it free of charge to residents. To be placed on a waiting list, or for further information, call extension 43155 at the same health department number, 808-1390. Remember, most smokers require more than one quit attempt to finally quit for good.

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, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit the PCDOH website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health or visit the social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealthny and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

Low Cost Clinic for Pets and Feral/Community Cats

A low-cost spay/neuter clinic has been planned in Fishkill on Thursday, January 16. Here’s an opportunity to have your private pets and feral/community cats spayed or neutered for just $70. Appointments are required and can be made by calling Paula at 845-206-9021.

Partner Spotlight: Second Chance Foods

Did you know that 40% of food in the US ends up in the garbage?

Meet the people in Putnam doing something to fix this! Our Live Healthy Putnam champions— Second Chance Foods elevates the health of people and planet through food rescue. Their team and groups of volunteers rescue food from grocers, harvest at local farms and cook nutritious meals. This recovered and prepared food is then donated to local food pantries, veterans’ organizations and the soup kitchen. Second Chance Foods’ executive director Martha Elder sits on our Live Healthy Putnam Coalition. She has a Master’s in Social Work and has seen firsthand the impact of hunger on families. She is also a passionate defender of the earth and appreciates how Second Chance Foods addresses both the humanitarian and environmental impacts of food waste.

 

Low Cost Clinic for Pets and Feral/Community Cats

Another low-cost spay/neuter clinic added in Fishkill on Thursday, December 12. Here’s an opportunity to get your private pets and feral/community cats spayed or neutered for just $50. Appointments are required and can be made by calling Paula at 845-206-9021.

“Last Chance” Flu Clinic Set for Dec 3 at the Putnam County Department of Health; National Influenza Vaccination Week runs from Dec 1 through 7

BREWSTER, NY—The flu season may have gotten off to a slow and steady rise, but there is no way to predict when a spike may occur. In New York, flu activity is usually highest between December and February. a “last chance” public flu vaccination clinic is scheduled for Tuesday, December 3, hosted by the Putnam County Department of Health as part of National Influenza Vaccination Week. The recognition week, which runs from December 1 through December 7, focuses attention on the importance of flu vaccination for all ages. These illnesses often linger into spring as well.

“If you have not yet received your flu shot, we hope you will take advantage of the health department’s ‘last chance’ clinic,” says County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “It offers the best protection to ensure you don’t miss out on school or work, or any of our important holiday and family gatherings this month or next.”

Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, M.D. also reminds everyone that, “Pregnant women and those with chronic health issues should take extra care to get immunized against the flu. Those with heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes are at increased risk of flu-related complications and exacerbation of underlying disease, even if these conditions are well-managed.” This wise advice is supported by a new campaign, represented by the hashtag #LowerYourFluRisk launched by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

The clinic will be held at the health department office at 1 Geneva Road in Brewster, from 2 to 6:30 p.m. No appointments are necessary. Any Putnam County resident, 18 years and older, is eligible to receive flu vaccine at this clinic. The fee, covering vaccine cost and administration, is $25. There is no fee for those over age 65 or with a Medicare card. High-dose flu vaccine will be available for individuals, 65 years and older, which studies have shown appears more effective in fighting flu in seniors. The nasal spray flu vaccine and pneumonia vaccine will not be available at this clinic.

The more individuals who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from the flu, including older people, very young children, pregnant women and individuals with certain health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications. For questions concerning flu vaccination or in the event of inclement weather, please 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.