Rabies Remains Rare, but Deadly

Health Department Urges Residents to Vaccinate Pets

 BREWSTER, NY— Rabies is a viral disease that almost always leads to death, unless a vaccine is provided soon after exposure. Springtime is when wild baby animals are born and bats often return to the local area. While rabies is most often seen among wild animals such as raccoons, bats, skunks, and foxes, pets and livestock can also become sick with rabies. Current vaccination can protect pets if they are exposed to rabid animals. The Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) hosts three pet vaccination clinics each year in March, July, and November. The next event will be held at Hubbard Lodge in Cold Spring on July 27 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

“We have been able to keep the number of human rabies cases extremely low due to the combination of companion animal vaccination programs like the one offered at the PCDOH and human rabies vaccine availability,” says Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, M.D.  “Remember, it is never a good idea to approach a wild or stray animal. An animal does not have to look sick to be infected and the only way to tell if an animal has rabies is to test their brain tissue,” continues Dr. Nesheiwat.

Rather than approaching a baby animal that seems to have been abandoned, residents are urged to leave the animal alone, or call a wildlife rehabilitator to see if the animal truly needs assistance. Children should be taught to avoid all wild and stray animals and to tell an adult if they have come in contact with an unfamiliar animal.

Bats remain the number one reason for rabies treatments. “If you find a bat in your home, it is important to capture it safely and contact the health department for an exposure assessment,” urges Dr. Nesheiwat. “A captured bat can be tested for rabies and if it is not infected you can avoid the two-week series of shots.” To safely capture a bat, watch the popular demo from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), available on the Putnam County website at https://www.putnamcountyny.com/how-to-capture-a-bat/ .

The Feral Cat Task Force is another program that helps to reduce the chance of spreading rabies. The Feral Cat Task Force has captured, neutered, vaccinated and returned 54 cats, and adopted or fostered 17 kittens so far in 2019. For people 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 or contact with wild animals should be reported promptly to the PCDOH at 845-808-1390. After hours or on weekends/holidays report the incident by calling the department’s environmental health hotline at 845-808-1390 and press “3.” A representative will promptly return your call. If a family pet encounters a wild animal, avoid immediate handling of your pet, or use rubber gloves and call the health department. PCDOH personnel will facilitate testing wild animals for possible rabies after an incident involving human or pet contact.

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.

 

Tick Season Returns

Tick Season Returns | Personal Precautions Advised

BREWSTER, NY— More than a dozen tickborne illnesses have been identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, including five that infect residents in the Hudson Valley. While Lyme disease is the most common and the most well-known, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis and babesiosis are increasing as well. Powassan disease, a rarer and potentially deadly infection, is also carried by the same black-legged tick, or “deer tick,” that transmits Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and babesiosis.

“We treasure the natural splendor and lush landscape of Putnam County and encourage our residents and visitors to enjoy the parks and trails, and to take in the outdoor beauty of Putnam County. We also urge people to learn about and take precautions to prevent tick-borne illnesses,” says Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell.

“Though tick populations vary each season, we know that reducing exposure to ticks is the best defense against Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses,” says Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD. “While the incidence of these diseases has been on the rise, the advice remains the same: Be vigilant about personal protection and make it a habit to check your clothing, your gear, and your body for ticks.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents such as those containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE). “People frequently spending time in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas should consider treating clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin,” adds Dr. Nesheiwat. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing, and camping gear and remains protective through several washings. Alternatively, you can buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear. To find the repellent that is right for you, search the Environmental Protection Agency database https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you.

The Putnam County Department of Health works closely with healthcare providers to share the most up-to-date recommendations and best practices for diagnosing and reporting tickborne illnesses. A physician makes the final diagnosis based on a combination of available tests, observation of the patient, and the patient history and description of symptoms.

The most common symptoms of Lyme disease include fever/chills, aches and pains, and a bulls-eye rash. Due to the prevalence of Lyme disease in this area, residents who have been bitten by a tick and develop any of these symptoms within 30 days should visit their healthcare provider. Providers will evaluate symptoms and order diagnostic tests if indicated. For more details regarding the symptoms and guidelines for other tickborne illnesses, visit the CDC’s webpage https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/symptoms.html.

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.

Happy Birthday Putnam County! Celebrate Putnam County’s History June 14th

CARMEL, NEW YORK, May 14 — Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and County Clerk Michael C. Bartolotti, invite the public to celebrate Putnam County’s 207th birthday on Flag Day, Friday, June 14, 2019, at the Historic Courthouse, 44 Gleneida Avenue, Carmel, NY, from  10 – 11:30 am.  In addition to local history awards, a special presentation honoring today’s local historians along with a centennial commemoration of the homecoming stories from World War I will be featured.

“100 years ago, New York Governor Alfred E. Smith established the role of local historians to help record the stories of returning servicemembers following World War I,” says MaryEllen Odell, “Since that time, our local government historians have been preserving, interpreting and presenting local history. We are thrilled to honor the role they have played, and continue to play, for the towns and villages throughout Putnam County.”

The current municipal historians include Jim Meyer of Carmel;  Jackie Rohrig of Kent;  Dr. Larry A. Maxwell of Patterson; Mark Forlow for Philipstown and the Village of Cold Spring; Dan Ricci of Putnam Valley;  John E. “Jack” Duncan of Southeast;  Danielle Cylich for the Village of Brewster; and Jonathan Bradley for Nelsonville.

A number of 2019 awards share a common theme: remembering Putnam County’s role in World War I.  “It’s quite fitting that we’ll celebrate the County’s birthday on Flag Day this year,” says Odell of the scheduling change from the County’s actual birthday June 12th to the 14th, “We will be commemorating a time in our County’s history that was at the peak of patriotism as the citizens of Putnam County welcomed home its brave men and women who served in the Great War.”

“Our Row of Honor along the shore of Lake Gleneida serves as a great reminder of what a privilege it is to celebrate Putnam County’s history, pledge our allegiance and show our continued gratitude for all those who serve.”

As with tradition, the Historian’s Office will honor individuals and organizations for their outstanding contributions to local history.  According to Michael Bartolotti, County Clerk and Records Management Officer responsible for the County Archives, “The Archives and Historian’s Office continue to be a great resource not just for research but for the arts as well.  Over the past year, elements from our records and collection have been developed into works of both nonfiction and fiction.”  Over seven different books and transcriptions will receive 2019 Local History awards.

2019 Local History Awards include:

  • Exemplary Public History in Schools:  Southeast Museum & Brewster High School for the stage production of “The Letters: Voices from the Great War”
  • Exemplary Public History – Lecture Series: Michael Bennett & Putnam Valley Historical Society
  • Preserving Local History: Mary Ann Smith for “Carmel Country Club”; Bernadette Brandon & the Brandon Family for “Sgt. Daniel Brandon’s Diary”
  • Local History PublicationPatriot Hero of the Hudson Valley by Vincent T. Dacquino; Sybil Rides by Larry Maxwell; The Girls of Haviland and Beyond Haviland by Deborah Rafferty Oswald; Putnam County Veterans of World War I by Roderick J. Cassidy;  The South Precinct of Dutchess County New York, 1740-1799 by Pamela Riccardi Paschke
  • Archival Sources Publication: Chip Rowe, transcription of “Putnam County, New York, Clerk Receipt Book, 1821-1827”, The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Volume 149, Number 2,  April 2018 and Number 3, July 2018
  • Lifetime Achievement Local History: Marjorie Nichols Keith, Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • Following the ceremony, attendees are invited to join the historians and honorees in the lobby of the David D. Bruen County Office Building for the traditional County birthday cake and refreshments.  The public is welcome, no RSVP required. For more information about the event, please contact the Historian’s Office at 845-808-1420 or historian@putnamcountyny.gov

# # #

About The Historian’s Office

The Historian’s Office preserves, interprets, and promotes the history of Putnam County as a local government office.  According to New York State criteria, the work of the Historian’s Office includes: research and writing, teaching and public presentations, historic preservation, and organization, advocacy and tourism promotion. To support these efforts, the Putnam County Historian’s Office has been collecting historical records, maps, books, photographs, and periodicals since 1953.  In 1992, the Putnam County Archives was established in the Historian’s Office to preserve, arrange, describe, and make accessible the governmental records of Putnam County.  The Archives and Historian’s Collection are used as a resource for people in Putnam County and elsewhere.  Finding aids are available at www.putnamcountyny.com/countyhistorian.

“4Mind4Body” Highlights the Two Parts of Health

Mental Health Awareness Month Marks 70 Years

BREWSTER, NY— Most people still think mental health issues are uncommon. The truth is quite the opposite: One in five people are estimated to have a mental health condition and that is why promoting mental health and well-being is a key priority of Putnam’s Community Health Improvement Plan, often referred to as “the CHIP.” This May, the Putnam County Department of Health is promoting the national theme of “4Mind4Body,” and marking 70 years of Mental Health Awareness Months, started by the national organization Mental Health America (MHA). Their initial goal in 1909, and still going strong today, is to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone.

“Mental health touches all of us,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “If we have not directly experienced a mental health problem ourselves, we likely know someone close to us who has, either a family member or close friend. Our community is fortunate to have many resources here in Putnam. These organizations work together tirelessly providing an array of services. Help is available.”

“Mental health cannot be separated from physical health—the two are intimately intertwined,” explained Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD. “And it works both ways: A healthy lifestyle can prevent, delay or alleviate mental health conditions, while chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes impact and have a mental health component.”

The theme “4Mind4Body” focuses on this, bringing awareness to many aspects of a lifestyle that can positively impact mental and physical health such as recreation and fitness, work-life balance, animal companionship, social connection, religion and spirituality.

Adapting to an increasingly digital world, Mental Health America offers a set of quick and easy online mental health screenings that provide in-home convenience and anonymity. For some this is a good first step. Others may prefer to speak with their personal health care providers, or to call the Mental Health Association in Putnam for a referral at 845-278-7600.

The online screenings for depression, anxiety, eating disorders, PTSD, biopolar, psychosis, and addiction are available at www.screening.mentalhealthamerica.net/screening-tools. These are complemented by a screening that parents can take if they have concerns about their child, a screening for youth who want to assess themselves, and a work health survey that helps measure the stresses one may be experiencing at work.

CoveCare Center, one of the largest providers of mental health services in Putnam County, recently formed an affiliation with the Mental Health Association in Putnam. CoveCare Center supports the work of MHA in Putnam while also providing compassionate and confidential prevention and treatment services for mental health, substance use, and emotional and social challenges. CoveCare Center can be reached at 845-225-2700.  The Mental Health Association continues its vital work in the areas of peer support, community education and outreach, with an emphasis on suicide prevention and veterans. In the case of a crisis, individuals should call the local Putnam County Crisis Line at 845-225-1222, or 911.

Other Putnam organizations and agency-based groups leading the work together on the CHIP with the health department include the Putnam affiliate of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), which recently hosted its sixth annual fundraising walk against the stigma of mental illness; the Putnam County Suicide Prevention Task Force; the Child Advocacy Center; the Mental Health/Substance Use Providers Coalition; the Putnam County Department of Social Services, Mental Health and the Youth Bureau; Putnam Hospital Center; and the Veterans Service Agency. A full list of community partners working on the mental health priority is published in the CHIP report, accessible online from the health department’s home page.

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.

###

Please let us know if we can provide any additional information. Feel free to reach me by email, or phone at 845-808-1390.

Free Hepatitis C Testing at PCDOH on May 20

CDC Recommends One-time Testing for All Baby Boomers

BREWSTER, NY—The Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) is offering free hepatitis C testing in recognition of National Hepatitis C Testing Day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hepatitis C causes more deaths among Americans than any other infectious disease. Free testing, especially targeted to New York State baby boomers, will take place on Monday, May 20. Anyone can get “Hep C,” but those born from 1945 through 1965 are five times more likely to be infected with the virus. Testing starts at 10 a.m. and runs until 4 p.m. at the main health department office at 1 Geneva Road in Brewster. No appointment is necessary and results are ready in 20 minutes.

“You can have Hep C infection without knowing it, says County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “And this free test can be the first step to getting lifesaving care and treatment.”

“Hep C can live in your body for decades without producing any symptoms and the longer someone lives with the untreated infection, the more likely they are to develop life-threatening liver disease,” says Health Commissioner, Michael J. Nesheiwat, M.D. “Seventy-five percent of people living with Hepatitis C were born from 1945 to 1965. This is why U.S. health officials have come together to recommend a one-time test for all baby boomers, regardless of risk factors.”

Hepatitis C is primarily spread through contact with infected blood. Baby boomers may have gotten infected from contaminated blood and blood products before routine screening started in 1992. Others may have become infected from injecting drugs, even if they did it only once in the past. Many baby boomers don’t know how or when they were infected.

There are 2.4 million Americans living with hepatitis C and most people don’t have symptoms until the later stages of the infection. When left untreated, Hepatitis C can cause liver failure, cirrhosis and cancer. There is no vaccine to prevent Hepatitis C. Getting tested is the best way to know if an infection exists and then treatment can be started as soon as possible. For many, treatment can cure Hepatitis C.

Residents who are unable to make the Free Testing Day on May 20, can call the health department at 845-808-1390 for information about other free testing opportunities.

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.

 

###

 

 

Please let us know if we can provide any additional information. Feel free to contact our Public Information Officer Susan Hoffner with any questions at 845-808-1390.

The Putnam County Youth Board & Youth Bureau held its “34th Annual Youth Awards Dinner” on Thursday, April 11th, 2019.

The Putnam County Youth Board & Youth Bureau held its “34th Annual Youth Awards Dinner” on Thursday, April 11th, 2019.

The Youth Board recognized seventeen youth and one adult for their outstanding community service efforts in Putnam County.

This year we were very fortunate to have New York State Assemblyman Kevin Byrne to be our Keynote Speaker.

Again, we would like to congratulate all the winners and to thank everyone who participated in making this event such a success!

World War Two Veteran Robert Graham was given a wonderful send off

There can be no heavy handed words this day. Amid a sea of hundreds of Veterans, active duty service members and good people World War Two Veteran Robert Graham was given a wonderful send off. His life and times were not in vain he will now be long remembered and honored by many. His wonderful young friend, Beth Regan, managed to struggle through a moving eulogy of Bob Graham. A eulogy that reminded the people packing the church that there are indeed good people in this world. Two of them shined on this day 27 year old Beth and 97 year old Bob. Beth made us cry with her words. Bob gave hope with his time on earth. This year when the Putnam County Row of Honor graces the shores of Lake Gleneida in Carmel there will be an American flag to honor the memory of Robert Graham at the request of County Executive MaryEllen Odell. The flag will also honor home town girl Beth Regan of Putnam Valley. Not in words but in spirit because if not for her intrepid energy and good heart Bob would be forgotten.

Beth stood in front of the church as a Marine Corps Honor Guard folded the American Flag that had graced Bob’s coffin. They folded it in clean precise folds. They inspected it and saluted our Nation’s flag. The young sergeant did a precise about face and with reverence marched to the girl with tears in her eyes and tears in her heart. There being no living relative the flag was presented to Beth. Beth in reality became at that moment in time and forever after Robert Graham’s last living relative.

Written by Karl Rohde, Director | Putnam County Veterans Service Agency

Thirteenth Annual Food Operator’s Seminar Held – New Expo with Food Industry Vendors Helps Draw Record Crowd

Brewster, NY— A record crowd of nearly 200 attendees—chefs, caterers, owners, food establishment operators and other food industry representatives—were in attendance for the Thirteenth Annual Food Operator’s Seminar and Expo on April 23. For the first time, the event featured an expo with food industry vendors, displaying their products and services. The jam-packed event offered a “one-stop” opportunity for food operators to learn about the latest dining trends, enhance their business skills, and improve their bottom line. At the same time they were able to visit with vendors, see products first-hand and learn about the latest services available to make their facilities run as smoothly as possible.

“This event surpassed all expectations,” said Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD, the Commissioner of Health. “We work year round with all our food operators, with this event we advanced those efforts to a higher level. Public health is about building community partnerships—it is fundamental to the way an accredited health department operates. As our public health sanitarian Shawn Rogan who oversees the PCDOH’s food industry program has said many times, ‘When our restaurants succeed, we all benefit,’ and I certainly agree.”

Shawn Rogan, who together with event coordinator Jane Meunier, oversees the Food Operators Seminar and Expo, thanked his colleagues for their ongoing success in changing Putnam’s food-licensing culture from one historically viewed as regulatory, to a more supportive relationship in which the goal is improving quality and problem solving.  “We have more in common with food operators than you might think. We are both service-based operations,” said Mr. Rogan. “This event helps us strengthen our working relationships and it is our residents who ultimately benefit.”

Vendors were not the only newcomers to the event. Public health professionals from health departments in the surrounding counties of Westchester, Orange and Dutchess County also attended. They were interested to see how the event was planned and to study how they might coordinate a similar event in their own county.

The event also offers an opportunity for the health department to recognize food establishments for lifetime achievement, distinguished performance and operational success in the past year. Health Inspectors Commendation Awards went to George Seitz at the Arch Restaurant and another to David Humphreys of Wandering Dave’s Fork in the Road, both in Brewster in the Town of Southeast.

The 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award went to Joseph Iebba, from Nicola’s Italian Restaurant in Philipstown. The department’s highest and most stringent honor, the Commissioner’s Gold Award for operational excellence was presented to James and Patricia Turco who own and operate the Ice Cream Studio in Lake Carmel, Town of Kent.

Commissioner’s Gold Awards also were awarded to Patrick Rodia from the Carmel Central School District and Cathy Ashe from the Brewster Central School District. These awards recognized nine specific schools. Food service director at Mahopac High School Rob Campisi, from Aramark, won for the first time. The remaining eight were repeat winners: Matthew Paterson School, ten times; John F. Kennedy Elementary School, eight times; Kent Primary School, seven times; and George Fischer Middle School, 6 times. Carmel High School and Kent Elementary School both won for the fifth time. Brewster High School brought home the gold for the fourth time and Henry H. Wells Middle School won gold for the third time.

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 Executive Odell Attends Putnam County Leadership Breakfast, Addresses Working Together With New York City

CARMEL, NY – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and the Putnam Business Council recently welcomed representatives from the New York City Department of City Planning at the Putnam County Leadership Breakfast on April 25th.

During her presentation, Carolyn Grossman Meagher of New York City Planning addressed several inequalities and the need for New York City to reach out to its neighboring communities to ensure that the entire Hudson Valley Region thrives.

Meagher is the Director of the new Regional Planning Division of New York City Planning. The Division was created with five objectives: to connect with regional governments and planning officials, to analyze, aggregate and disseminate regional data, to instill regionalism in Planning activities, to cultivate opportunities to cross-border collaboration, and to inform regional policy and capital priorities.

Odell said she was optimistic about this new Division.

“New York City has seen the most post-recession economic and job growth in our region,” Odell said. “while areas outside of New York City saw slower wage growth. I am looking forward to working with New York City Planning for the benefit of the entire Hudson Valley.”

Odell added that this partnership will be immensely valuable since there is a dramatically large population in the Hudson Valley that commute to jobs in New York City, as well as a smaller population that commute from New York City to the Hudson Valley.

Click here to see her presentation via PDF

Community Health Survey: You Talk, We Listen Department of Health and Putnam Hospital Request Public Input

BREWSTER, NY— The Putnam County Department of Health and Putnam Hospital Center  are asking residents to complete a brief community health survey known as the “community asset survey.” Residents are being asked what they think are the greatest strengths of the community and where the gaps exist so resources can be directed adequately to develop a healthier community. Over 200 people have expressed their views, but everyone who lives or works in Putnam County is encouraged to voice their opinions.

“Community health improvement is most successful when it is driven by direct community input” explains Commissioner of Health Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD. “This is why we encourage all community members to participate.” The health department and Putnam Hospital Center collaborate with public health partners to analyze resident feedback alongside an array of socio-economic factors. The result is an accurate community health assessment and subsequent Community Health Improvement Plan.

From start to finish, the survey has five, easy-to-answer questions that can be completed in five to ten minutes. Utilizing a wide-ranging list, the survey asks respondents to identify the county’s greatest strengths as well as to help pinpoint where the county should focus improvement efforts.  Dr. Nesheiwat reminds, “Community health is not defined by medical diagnoses alone. Crime levels, clean environment and transportation access all contribute to the overall health of a community.”

The quick and anonymous survey is on the homepage of the Putnam County website at www.putnamcountyny.com and will run until May 31. The direct link is: https://tinyurl.com/Community-Asset-Survey-2019. Putnam County businesses and other organizations that wish to ensure their employees’ opinions are counted can contact the health department at 845-808-1390 or are encouraged to email the survey link directly to their employees.

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.