Ontario County Public Health In the News

Flu Before Boo 2Ontario County Public Health encourages the public to get their flu shot as soon as possible, preferably before Halloween. Influenza is currently circulating in Ontario County. Flu vaccine can take up to two weeks to provide maximum immunity.

To predict influenza activity, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looks to the Southern Hemisphere. Australia is currently experiencing its most severe flu season in five years—an indicator that the United States may face a similar surge of flu cases amid continued Covid-19 spread. Flu trends and a decline in masking may predict Americans getting sick with both influenza and COVID-19. 

The best protection against flu and its complications is vaccination. The 2022-2023 flu vaccine includes protection from two types of flu A and one or two types of flu B, depending on the vaccine. Unvaccinated individuals are urged to seek out flu vaccine from their healthcare provider, local pharmacy, or Ontario County Public Health at this time.

Symptoms of the flu usually occur suddenly and may include headache, fever, chills, body and muscle aches, severe fatigue, congestion, and cough. Antiviral medications may shorten the length of illness and severity of symptoms.  Residents with illnesses compatible with influenza should contact their healthcare providers when symptoms first begin.  

CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. Get vaccinated against the flu now. For those over 65 years old, talk with your healthcare provider or pharmacist about the high dose influenza vaccine.  COVID-19 bivalent booster doses can be given same time as the flu shot. Additional strategies to prevent the flu include frequent hand washing or when not available, alcohol-based hand gels, avoiding contact with sick people, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when ill.  (Updated 9/26/2022)

COVID-19 Comes to Ontario County

Ontario County Public Health held a press conference on March 16, 2020 for the county’s first positive COVID-19 case. The Ontario County resident and spouse are currently on mandatory quarantine and are being monitored by nurses from Ontario County Public Health. Please click on the links below to read more. 

New Channel 13


(Updated 3/16/2020)

Flu is on the Rise!

Flu was widespread statewide as of Nov. 30, according to the New York State Department of Health. “We have a few confirmed cases and it looks like it’s starting to increase here,” said Mary Beer, director of Ontario County Public Health. “We are not at peak in this county and it really is not early here. The numbers are just starting to ramp up.”

Check out the article featuring Mary Beer in the Daily Messenger

(Updated 12/30/2019)

2019 Kevin Hines Community Flyer

Kevin Hines: “Stories Save Lives”

Suicide Prevention Presentation

In honor of September being National Suicide Prevention Month, Ontario County Public Health in partnership with the Ontario County Suicide Prevention Coalition, the Partnership for Ontario County and Finger Lakes Community College is pleased to announce “Stories Save Lives” presented by suicide survivor, Kevin Hines. This free event will be held on September 12, 2019 at 7pm at the Finger Lakes Community College, 3325 Marvin Sands Drive, Canandaigua, New York.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States[1]. 47,173 Americans died by suicide in 2017, which equates to 129 suicides per day1. Men die by suicide 3.53 times more often than women1. One death by suicide is too many. It is time to stop the stigma that surrounds mental health and start having difficult conversations.

In 2000, Kevin Hines leapt off the Golden Gate Bridge in attempt to end his life. He is one of very few Golden Gate Bridge suicide survivors. Kevin has many important messages to share about coping and seeking support networks, finding purpose, the true meaning of surviving and thriving. Please join us for the “Stories Save Lives” presentation and find local mental health and suicide prevention resources.  

[1]  (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 2019)

Media prior to the event:

Daily Messenger: Click here

Finger Lakes Times: Click here

Media after the event:

Read this article from the front page of the Daily Messenger: Click here

13 WHAM News: Click here

FingerLakes1.com: Click here

(Updated 9/17/2019)


Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) Detected in Ontario County Horse

A Horse in the Town of Farmington has Tested Positive for EEE

On August 30, 2019 Ontario County Public Health was notified that a one year old horse stabled in the Town of Farmington tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE, or Triple E). This is the first time EEE has been documented in a mammal in Ontario County.

EEE is caused by a virus transmitted by a certain type of mosquito.  Humans rarely become infected, but if they do, the illness is serious and can be fatal due to brain inflammation (encephalitis). It is not transmissible person-to-person, horse-to-human or horse-to-horse.

Ontario County Public Health is working with the New York State Department of Health and Ag and Markets to notify horse owners, veterinarians and the public. Enhanced surveillance for EEE is underway in the County.

Horse owners should be alert to symptoms in their animals. These may include fever, changes in gait, inability to get up and refusal to eat. They should contact their veterinarian if these occur. Vaccines are available to help protect horses from EEE. Horse owners should minimize mosquito exposure by frequently changing water in troughs and buckets and eliminating other standing water sources.

Human infection is rare and it is possible to be infected and have no symptoms. Individuals under the age of fifteen and over the age of fifty are at greatest risk for developing severe disease. Symptoms of severe disease include sudden headache, high fever, chills, vomiting, disorientation and seizures.  These should be reported to a healthcare provider.

There is no human vaccine for EEE so preventing mosquito bites is important. Wear long sleeves and tuck pants into socks and shirts into pants when outdoors at dusk or dawn. Use insect repellents containing DEET according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Reduce the mosquito population around homes by removing standing water. This includes attention to containers, tires, gutters, pools, hot tubs, birdbaths, etc. Additionally, make sure window and door screens fit properly and are in good condition.

To read the article in the Finger Lakes Times: Click here

To read the article and watch the video on WHAM 13: Click here

(Updated 9/4/2019)

Narcan is Saving Lives

The number of overdose related deaths in Ontario County has decreased by 50% when compared to this time last year.  The use of Narcan may be the reason for the decrease in overdose deaths. Narcan (Naloxone) is the drug that reverses overdoses from opioids such as heroin and fentanyl. Narcan, along with effective emergency care increases the chance of survival from an opioid overdose. Narcan is saving lives by helping individuals get one step closer to treatment and recovery.  

In 2018, Ontario County Public Health provided eleven Narcan training sessions. Over 400 Narcan doses (200 kits) were disseminated to community members, fire departments and local law enforcement officers. Education on proper Narcan use, basic first aid steps and local resources for drug treatment options are provided with each Narcan kit. Every Narcan Kit distributed increases the chance of survival, treatment and recovery.

Narcan can be obtained (without prescription) at local pharmacies at a discounted rate through the Naloxone Co-payment Assistance Program (N-CAP). Narcan can also be obtained by attending a local training. There is no cost for the Narcan trainings but calling ahead ensures enough supplies.

If you currently carry Narcan, be sure to check the expiration date on the packaging. Each dose of Narcan also has instructions for storage. Narcan should be stored at room temperature, between 59oF to 77oF (15oC to 25oC). For Narcan to work optimally it is important to not leave Narcan doses in a hot or cold car.

(Updated 2/4/2022)

World Breastfeeding Month

Second Baby Café Opening in Ontario County

Geneva opens its first Baby Café just in time for World Breastfeeding Month. A grand opening celebration is planned for Tuesday August 20th, 10:00 -11:00, at the Geneva Visitors Center located at 35 Lake Front Drive in Geneva.

The Geneva Baby Café will open their doors on September 3, 2019.  The Geneva Baby Café will be  housed and maintained by Child & Family Resources on 671 South Exchange Street in Geneva and will be held every first and third Tuesday from 10:00-11:30am.  Baby Cafés are staffed with Clinical Lactation Counselors (CLC’s) to help mothers in every stage of their parenting journey. CLC’s are available to offer encouragement and answer breastfeeding and parenting questions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infants who are breastfed have lower risks of asthma, obesity, type 2 diabetes, ear and respiratory infections, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), diarrhea and vomiting. Breastfeeding mothers have a lower risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, even certain types of cancer like ovarian and breast cancers. Breastfeeding is an important way to lower chronic disease rates.

In Ontario County, the percentage of infants fed only breast milk in the hospital is 64.5%. In Ontario County, the percentage of infants fed only breast milk in the hospital is 64.5%. In the city of Geneva that number falls to 47.3% . Baby Cafés utilize CLC’s to help make breastfeeding easier for local mothers. 68% of local mothers surveyed reported that if Geneva had a place to hang out, receive accurate health information and free breastfeeding help they would attend.

The Geneva Baby Café is an outcome of the collaborative efforts of The Finger Lakes Breastfeeding Partnership, Child & Family Resources and Ontario County Health Collaborative.  The Baby Café in Canandaigua has been open for several years. (Located at 514 South Main Street on the first and third Wednesday, 10:00 - 11:30 am).  Both Baby Cafés are a direct result of the Community Health Improvement Plan being implemented by partners of Ontario County Public Health and the Ontario County Health Collaborative.

To read the Daily Messenger article: Click here

(Updated 9/4/2019)

Don’t Hesitate, Vaccinate! 

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

We all need vaccines to help protect us from serious diseases. Vaccines stimulate the body's own immune system to protect the person against infection or disease. To help keep our community protected, Ontario County Public Health is proudly participating in National Immunization Awareness Month during the month of August.

Parents, only 68.6% of Ontario County children ages 19-35 months are considered fully vaccinated. Vaccines help to prevent serious diseases like the flu, measles, pneumonia and even certain types of cancers.

As September approaches, now is the time to talk with your child’s healthcare provider about vaccines for the new school year. Schools will no longer be able to accept non-medical vaccine exemptions.

Vaccines aren’t just for kids! Adults may need vaccines to prevent against diseases like tetanus, pneumonia and zoster (shingles). Talk with your healthcare provider about adult vaccines.

As fall approaches, everyone age 6 months and older needs to get a flu vaccine. Only 69% of those eligible to receive flu vaccine in Ontario County have been vaccinated. The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year.

From newborn to adults, vaccines work best at specific ages or life stages (like pregnancy). Talk to your healthcare provider to make sure that everyone in your family gets the vaccines they need on time.

To watch the News Channel 10 feature: Click here

(Updated 8/14/2019)

Stay Cool Ontario County


This weekend area temperatures are expected to rise. The CDC and Ontario County Public Health recommend residents take a few simple precautions to prevent heat-related injuries this summer.

Stay cool. Avoid direct sunlight when you are outside and close your shades while indoors. Wear lightweight, light colored clothing. Try a cool bath or shower or a midday sponge bath. During a heat spell, don’t rely solely on a fan to keep you cool; seek out air-conditioned spaces like malls and public buildings.  Finally, be aware of people at high risk for heat-related injuries and lend a helping hand. Check frequently on elderly or infirm family, friends and neighbors.

Stay hydrated. Increase your water intake and don’t wait until you feel thirsty, to drink. If working or playing outside, you will need 2-4 cups of water an hour to keep your body temperature normal and to avoid dehydration. Take frequent breaks in the shade.  It is best to avoid sugary beverages, alcohol and caffeine. Remind family, friends and neighbors to drink plenty of water.

Stay informed. Know the weather forecast and check for heat alerts when planning outdoor chores and activities. Strenuous outdoor activities can wait until cooler days or cooler time of the day (early morning and later evening). Learn the symptoms of heat-related illness. Dehydration starts with thirst and progresses to headache, faintness and confusion, particularly in the elderly. Heat exhaustion includes profuse sweating, cold clammy skin, dizziness, nausea and muscle cramps. Heat stroke is a life threatening emergency. Symptoms include hot, dry skin, confusion, seizures and loss of consciousness. Call 911 if you suspect someone is experiencing heat stroke.

Look before you leap or lock. Cool off and enjoy our lakes in areas where no blue-green algae are present. Remember, extreme heat can affect your family, neighbors and even pets. Please look before you lock your car. Make sure there are no children or pets in the back seat. During extreme heat, leave pets at home with plenty of water and a place to cool-off.  

Residents needing financial assistance for fans and air-conditioners, call the HEAP Cooling Assistance Program at Ontario County Department of Social Services, 585-396-4061. This program is based on a medical need.

(Updated 8/14/2019)

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Ontario County Public Health Nurse Celebrates 35 Years on the Job!

Congratulations to our very own Beth Webster who recently celebrated her 39th year as a nurse with the Ontario County Public Health department!  

Beth Webster was a home-care nurse for 21 years before moving to the public health department’s Children With Special Healthcare Needs program. Currently, Beth Webster works in the health department's early intervention program which helps families with developmentally disabled children find area resources.

Finger Lakes Times: Click here

(Updated 7/3/2019)

Tick-borne Illness in the News

A Message of Prevention

The Director if Ontario County Public Health, Mary Beer was featured in an article from the Daily Messenger. Prevention of tick-borne illness continues to be a hot topic in New York State. “Our message continues to be one of prevention and most importantly to check yourself, your children, and pets after every outdoor encounter where ticks might be present,” Beer added. “The transfer of Lyme Disease does not occur immediately upon the latching on of a tick. You have time to remove the tick properly. Be diligent in monitoring your health status and contact your health care provider or veterinarian in the event that you or your pets experience any symptoms (bullseye rash, headache, fever, chills, tiredness, and body aches are common early symptoms). If untreated, symptoms can progress to additional rashes, joint swelling and pain, nerve involvement, and heartbeat abnormalities. Your local health department is more than happy to field any questions that you may have. Feel free to reach out.” 

Tick-bite prevention remains the key to staying health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest three main ways to prevent tick bites.

  1. Know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals. Spending time outside walking your dog, camping, gardening, or hunting could bring you in close contact with ticks. Many people get ticks in their own yard or neighborhood.
  2. Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings. Alternatively, you can buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
  3. Use an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. 
    1. Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old.
    2. Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old.

Ontario County Public Health continues to distribute free Tick Kits to aid in the early and safe removal of ticks. If you would like a free tick kit, Please call Onario County Public Health at 1-585-396-4343.

Daily Messenger article: Click here

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Click here

Environmental Protection Agency- Insect Repellent: Click here

(Updated 5/20/2019)

2019 priority meeting 1

The Health Prioritization Meeting Was a Success!

Over fifty community members assembled together at Ontario County Public Health to reviewed the data from the Community Health Assessment and local focus groups. We utilized both the Hanlon and PEARL methods to help us decide upon health areas to focus our energy in the coming years. We will announce those areas very shortly. Stay tuned!! 

To read the article published in the Finger Lakes Times: Click here!

(Updated 5/10/2019)

As Promised! Here is Your Health Priority Update!!

You Spoke! We Listened!

With all the health issues in our community, have you ever wondered how Public Health prioritizes resources? Besides the 10 Essential Services, Public Health completes a Community Health Assessment (CHA) and a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP).

Thank you for helping us complete our Community Health Assessment, focus groups and our stakeholder meeting! With your help, we have identified our community health priority areas. Currently we looking at evidence based practices and completing our Community Health Improvement Plan.

Our Community Health Improvement Plan focus areas are:
Prevent Chronic Disease:
 1. Chronic disease preventative care and management
 2. Tobacco prevention
 3. Healthy eating and food security
Promote Mental Well-Being and Prevent Substance Use Disorders:
 1. Promote well-being
 2. Prevent mental and substance use disorders
The health disparity we chose is low income populations. Interested and want to help? Call (1-800-299-2995) us today to learn how!

(Updated 9/4/2019)

Focus On Health! 

Ontario County Public Health Seeking Input on Health Priorities

On May 10, 2019 the Ontario County Health Collaborative will host a community stakeholder meeting to discuss the results of the recently completed community health assessment. The goal of the meeting will be to choose health priorities on which to focus for the next three years.

Participants will use prioritization techniques called the Hanlon and PEARL methods to decide which of the County’s highest ranked health needs should be addressed jointly by Public Health, Ontario County hospitals  and community partners. Community member and stakeholder input are very important to this process.

Once the community health priority areas are identified, the Ontario County Health Collaborative will create a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). The CHIP is constructed using evidence-based health promotion initiatives with the sole purpose of improving the health of our community.

Members of the public and stakeholders are welcome and encouraged to attend the community health priority-setting meeting on:

Date: Friday, May 10, 2019

Time: 8:30 -11:00 AM

Location: 3019 County Complex Drive (Public Health Building) Canandaigua, NY Rooms 204 & 205

Come share your insights about health priorities in Ontario County.  A light breakfast will be provided. Please RSVP to Kimberly Ferguson at kimberley.ferguson@co.ontario.ny.us   or call 585-396-4343.  Anyone interested in health promotion in Ontario County is welcome to attend.

The Ontario County Health Collaborative meets the second Thursday of each month in Hopewell. Meetings are open to anyone interested in improving the health of Ontario County residents. For more information, call 585-396-4343.

Finger Lakes Times News Article: Click here

(Updated 5/3/2019)

Let's Talk About Childhood Immunizations

Even though measles cases are rising in the United States, some parents remain hesitant to vaccinate their children. Ontario County Public Health employees, Kate Ott and Christine Pullin provided an in-depth interview about childhood vaccines for a recent 98 PXY Radio Broadcast.

98 PXY Radio interview: Click here

(Updated 4/5/2019)

What's New in CNY Healthcare? 

    WXXI's Dr. Brian Johnson sits down with five county directors of public health to talk about how they are tackling some of Central New York’s most pressing issues. Mary Beer, Director of Ontario County Public Health and four of her colleagues discuss the latest in the opioid crisis and hear how they are working to make their communities safe and healthy.  


Despite the winter season, please continue to protect yourself against ticks.
- Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings. Alternatively, you can buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
 - Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. EPA’s helpful search tool can help you find the product that best suits your needs. Always follow product instructions.
 - Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old or products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old. 

Learn more from the CDC: Click here

To view the interview with 13WHAM: Click here

(Updated 11/29/2018)

Opioid Deaths

One Death is Too Many

Every resident lost to the opioid crisis is a preventable tragedy. In 2016, Ontario County experienced 17 opioid overdose deaths. The number of opioid related deaths jumped to 30 in 2017. As of June 2018, Ontario County had 13 confirmed opioid deaths and several more fatalities pending toxicology. The average age for an opioid related fatality for 2016 until June of 2018 was 37 years old. Each life cut short leaves loving family members and friends left to grieve.

Opioids, used to relieve pain are made of opium poppies. They work by lowering the number of pain signals your body sends to your brain. They also change how your brain responds to pain. Opioids may include codeine, fentanyl, heroin, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone or tramadol. Overtime, opioids can change the chemicals in your brain making you develop a powerful urge to use the drug. In an opioid overdose, high levels of opioids mask the need to breathe. The drug Narcan (Naloxone) is used to reverse an overdose.

Drug dependence develops when the neurons in your brain adapt to repeated drug exposure and only functions normally in the presence of the opioid. When the drug is withdrawn, symptoms such as sweating, nausea or vomiting, chills, diarrhea, shaking, pain, depression, insomnia and fatigue occur. The term often used to describe withdrawal symptoms is “dope sick” which is described as the worst flu you have ever had, multiplied by 10.

As a community, let us celebrate our opioid addiction success stories. Many of our residents have made a commit to quitting; they have received help from doctors, counselors and drug treatment centers and they received recovery support. Seek help if you are struggling with addiction. Local drug addiction resources include FLACRA, the Addictions Crisis Center, and the Center of Treatment Innovation (COTI) Mobile Crisis Unit. For more information and immediate assistance contact: FLACRA 833-4-FLACRA (833-435-2272), Clifton Springs Chemical Dependency Services: Outpatient Services: 315-462-1060 & Inpatient Services: 315-462-3000 or The Council on Alcoholism and Addiction of the Finger Lakes at 315-789-0310.

Preventing addiction prevents opioid deaths. Everyone has a part in preventing addiction. As a community member, reach out to a faith-based community, connect to your neighbors, volunteer, encourage and support drug prevention programs or join the programs available through the Partnership for Ontario County.

To view the article in the Daily Messenger: Click here

To view the article in the Finger Lakes Times: Click here

(Updated 10/10/2018)

West Nile Virus

One case of West Nile Virus (WNV) has been confirmed in a horse in Ontario County. West Nile Virus is spread by bites from infected mosquitoes. Like horses, humans are susceptible to WNV.

About 1 in 5 people infected with WNV will develop symptoms (fever, headache, tiredness, rash, diarrhea, vomiting, body aches). Only 1 in 150 will develop serious or life-threatening illness (severe headache, high fever, stiff neck, confusion, seizures, coma). There is no licensed vaccine for use in humans and there are no medications to treat WNV infections.

Reduce your risk of WNV by preventing mosquito bites. Remove standing water from around your home and be sure screens on windows and doors are in good shape.

While outside:

  • Avoid dusk and dawn
  • Use an effective insect repellent (https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents)
  • Keep skin covered-wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Cover your infant's stroller or playpen with mosquito netting

If you own horses, be sure they have received WNV vaccine.

For more information: https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html

(Updated 9/27/2018)

Blue Green Algae

The presence of algae blooms is impacting the designated swim areas of Deep Run Beach (Town of Gorham) and Onanda Park Beach (Town of Canandaigua) resulting in closure of swimming in these parks. Sandy Bottom Beach on Honeoye Lake is also closed for the swimming season due to algae blooms. Please be alert and avoid contact with Blue Green Algae blooms. It is safe to swim and boat in areas of the lake without visible algae.

New Channel 13: Click here

(Updated 8/29/2018)

Tobacco 21

Tobacco 21 is a national campaign aimed at raising the minimum legal age for purchasing nicotine products to 21 years old. (Enforcement for Tobacco 21 is at the point of purchase only.)  Tobacco 21 includes all tobacco and nicotine containing products. Including but not limited to cigarettes, vaping, mod & JUUL devices, smokeless tobacco or snuff and cigars. Public policies like Tobacco 21 is the single most effective way to influence behavior. 

Why Tobacco 21?

Approximately 96% of smokers begin smoking before age 21 with the most beginning before age 16. Smokers frequently transition from experimentation to addiction between the ages of 18 and 21. Most youth get their cigarettes and vaping products from peers ages 18 to 20. Today, there are more 18 and 19 year olds in high school than in past years. Making it easier for under age kids to obtain tobacco and nicotine products. Very few 21 year olds travel within the high school social circles. Tobacco 21 will remove this source of tobacco preventing the addiction.

To view the article in the Daily Messenger: Click here

To view the article in the Finger Lakes Times: Click here

(Added 8/3/2018)

Tobacco 21 on News Channel 8

Tobacco 21 was featured on News Channel 8 on August 2, 2018. 

Click the arrow below to watch the video clip.

(Added 8/3/2018)

(Video added 8/3/2018)

Parents Beware: Vaping Appeal Growing Among Teens

In 2014, 21.6 percent of New York’s middle and high school students had used an electronic nicotine delivery system. In 2016, that number rose to 43.8 percent.  Studies show that twelfth graders who use these devices are four times more likely to smoke cigarettes within one year. Additionally, using them to try to quit smoking often results in the use of both tobacco cigarettes and vaping devices.

To view the article in the D&C: Click here

To view the article in the Finger Lakes Times: Click here

(Updated 6/12/2018)

Blue Zones pic

Essay: Report Will Show if Ontario County is Ready To Go ‘Blue’

The Blue Zones Project is a community-led, well-being improvement initiative that strives to simplify healthy lifestyle choices through permanent changes to environment, policy and social networks. Ontario County is being considered for this prestigious designation. In fact, if we are selected, we will become the first community in New York state — and the Northeast region — to earn the Blue Zones Project distinction. We would join 42 other communities in nine states that are Blue Zones Project designated.

To view the essay written by Mary Beer, Director of Ontario County Public Health in the Daily Messenger: Click here

To view the essay in the Finger Lakes Times: Click here

(Updated 5/15/2018)

Teresa and Henry

City of Geneva Helps Food Justice Find A Home        

Geneva City Council approved a $20,134 allocation to the organization, which includes, among other things, funds for a walk-in cooler and rental money for space at the Geneva Enterprise Development Center. The walk-in cooler will help to store gleaned produce during harvest season. Gleaned produce is distributed those in need during the fall harvest.

To view the article in the Finger Lakes Times: Click here

(Updated 5/10/2018)

Suicide Prevention Forum Set in Bloomfield

Ontario County Public Health, Ontario County Mental Health, The Partnership for Ontario County, Bloomfield Central Schools and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention collaborate to bring Talk Saves Lives to the Bloomfield community. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention advocate, Donna Besler lost her son to suicide. Donna Besler encourages the audience to "Seize the Awkward," follow your instincts and directly ask about suicidal ideation. Suicide prevention, mental health resources and suicide prevention training were made available to the community. Talk Saves Lives ended the forum with a question and answer panel provided by Donna Besler and Christy Richards (Registered Nurse and Health Educator for Ontario County Public Health).

To view the article in the Daily Messenger: Click here

Pictured to the right is Donna Besler and her son Brennan.

(Updated 5/10/2019)


Blue Zones

With your help, Ontario County could be a Blue Zone. Blue Zones are areas with the highest concentration of people living to 100 years or older. The Blue Zones Project uses information and data collected from these areas to help transform communities into thriving places to live, work, eat and play. Blue Zones staff work with communities to help them improve everything from work sites to parks to stores to streets to schools, all to promote the highest level of health and well-being.

Learn more about Blue Zones: Blue Zones   View Video Here

To  view Dr. Kerri Graff's Guest Essay in support of Blue Zones in the Daily Messenger: Click here

To view the April 5, 2018 article in the Daily Messenger: Click here

To view the April 11, 2018 article in the Daily Messenger: Click here

To view the April 24, 2018 article in the Finger Lakes Times: Click here

(Updated May 1, 2018)

National Public Health Week: Changing Our Future Together

April 2-8, 22018

Join us in celebrating National Public Health Week and become part of a growing movement to create the healthiest nation in one generation. We're celebrating the power of prevention, advocating for healthy and fair policies, sharing strategies for successful partnerships and championing the role of a strong public health system.

To view the article in the Finger Lakes Times: Click here

Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OCPHealth/

Follow us on Twitter: @ChooseHealthOC

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County Health Rankings

The County Health Rankings is a report from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that breaks down health factors in nearly every county in the United States. Ontario County ranked 12th out of 62 counties for our health outcomes and 11th for both our length of life and health factors. Ontario County's obesity rates are 28% and we currently rate 24th out of 62 counties. The County Rankings validate the work we are doing through our Community Health Improvement Plan surrounding obesity.

To view the article in the Daily Messenger: Click here

To view the County Rankings for Ontario County: Click here

Flu Cases Continue To Climb

With the number of flu cases in Ontario County continuing to rise, public health officials are still encouraging people to get a flu shot.

Mary Beer, the county’s public health director, said both A and B flu strains are prevalent in the area. Most circulating strains match this season’s vaccine.

“Vaccination against flu lessens your chance of flu complications like pneumonia and sepsis (blood infection),” Beer said. “It is not too late to vaccinate.”

To view the article in the Finger Lakes Times: Click here

(Updated 2/13/2018)

Report links overdoses, Rx drugs

According to a new report from Rochester-based Common Ground Health — formerly the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency — 54 percent of people who overdosed in the nine-county Finger Lakes region in 2016 had a prescription for opioids in the previous two years.

For non-heroin opioid overdoses, the relationship was even stronger — 68 percent of people who overdosed had prior prescriptions for painkillers. The numbers are from a study period of 2014 to 2016.

To view the article in the Finger Lakes Times Click here

To view the Common Ground Health Report  Click Here

(Updated 2/1/2018)

Gleaning picture 2

Geneva Food Justice Coalition

The Geneva Food Justice Coalition is a volunteer group that collects and distributes produce for the needy. Led by co-chairs Henry Farro and Teresa Shaffer (Ontario County Public Health Nurse), the Coalition gleaned 18,535 pounds of produce from local farms in 2017, compared to 9,850 the previous year.

“We doubled everything this year,” said Farro as he spoke at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church on Clark Street, where he serves as a deacon and which has been used as the base of operations by the group. Ontario County Public Health is very proud to work along side this grassroots effort to help provide food to those in need. 

To view the article featured in the Finger Lakes Times: Click here

(Updated 1/25/2018)

Narcan Training

Ontario County Struggles With Opioid Abuse

As overdose deaths rise, Public Health nurses teach residents the steps to provide the lifesaving drug, Narcan. Narcan is a medication used to reverse and opioid overdose. Ontario County Public Health works in collaboration with The Partnership for Ontario County to prevent drug use, FLACRA to treat drug abuse and various community agencies to administer the lifesaving drug Narcan.

To view the article in the Daily Messenger: Click here

(Updated 1/25/2018)

Flu is on the Rise This Holiday Season

CDC Warns of Increased Flu

Ontario County Public Health Director, Mary Beer urges the public to get their flu shot as soon as possible. 

Flu cases have been confirmed in Ontario County.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Ontario County Public Health warns that the number of flu cases are on the rise.  Holiday travel and family celebrations will likely cause flu cases to continue to increase.  Both A and B strains of flu have been detected.  Currently, most circulating strains match this season’s flu vaccine.

Children are at high risk for complications from influenza (especially children younger than 2 years old).  Adults over 65, pregnant women or people with a medical history of asthma, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, HIV or AIDS and cancer are also at high risk of complications from the flu virus.

The best protection against flu is vaccination. The 2017-2018 flu season vaccine includes  protection from two types of flu A and one or two types of flu B, depending on the vaccine. Unvaccinated individuals should seek out flu vaccine from their healthcare provider or local pharmacy. 

Symptoms of the flu usually occur suddenly and may include headache, fever, chills, body and muscle aches, severe fatigue, congestion and cough. Antiviral medications may shorten the length of illness and severity of symptoms.  Residents with illnesses compatible with influenza should contact their healthcare providers.

CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. Get vaccinated against the flu now. Additional strategies to prevent the flu include frequent hand washing or when not available, alcohol-based hand gels,  avoiding contact with sick people, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home from school, holiday parties and work when ill.

For more information in English: Click here

View the article featured in the Finger Lakes Times: Click here

(Updated 12/4/2017) 

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Geneva Food Justice Coalition

Ontario County Public Health is proud to support efforts to improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Geneva Food Justice Coalition has been hard at work gleaning fresh fruits and vegetables and redistributing them to groups like:

  • Families living in the Geneva Foundry contamination zone
  • Geneva Free Lunch Program
  • Geneva Salvation Army
  • Geneva Boys and Girls Club
  • Elmcrest Apartments
  • Phelps Community Center
  • Canandaigua Churches in Action

A very special "Thank You" to the Geneva Food Justice Coalition, Teresa Shaffer (Ontario County Public Health Nurse) and Henry Farro for your efforts to provide nutritious foods to people in need. (Teressa Shaffer and Henry Farro are pictured on th left. Photo credit Finger Lakes Times) 

Want to help?

Call the Ontario County Public Health if you or your service organization would like to help with the Geneva Food Justice Coalition at 1-800-299-2995.

View the article featured in the Finger Lakes Times (9/18/2017): Click here

(Updated 9/19/2017)

School bus safety

 Children's Lives Are in Your Hands

Ontario County Public Health encourages residents to share the road with school buses. Important bus safety laws to remember:

  • When a school bus displays flashing red lights, all motorists approaching the bus from either direction must come to a full stop.
  • Drivers must remain stopped until red lights are turned off and the school bus resumes motion, or until signaled to do so by the bus driver or a police officer. 
  • Simply waiting for kids to board the bus is not sufficient. Red flashing lights  must be OFF.

Section 1174 of the Vehicle & Traffic Law applies to quiet country roads and busy city streets. It also includes  four-lane roads with medians. 

View the article featured in the Daily Messenger (9/1/2017): Click here

View the article featured in the Finger Lakes Times (9/3/2017): Click here

Updated 9/3/2017

Baby Café Celebrates World Breastfeeding Week

Ontario County Public Health  works with Child & Family Resources and UR Thompson Health to provide families with parenting support, connection to community resources and no cost breastfeeding help at the Canandaigua Baby Cafe.  The Baby Cafe is open on the first and third Wednesdays of every month from 10:00-11:30 at the  Child & Family Resource center (514 South Main Street in Canandaigua). A Clinical Lactation Counselor (CLC) is available free of charge at every Baby Cafe to help mothers reach their breastfeeding goals.  All mothers are welcome to attend the Baby Cafe.

Read the entire article today! Click here

(Updated 8/3/2017)

Look Before you Locke

Look Before You Lock! 

Ontario County Public Health encourages residents to check the back seat for baby every time you get out of your vehicle. Ask your childcare provider  to call you if your baby doesn’t show up as planned. Always keep cars locked and the keys out of reach of children. If a child is missing – quickly check your car. Lastly, a car is not a babysitter. NEVER leave a child alone inside a vehicle, not even for a minute.

View the article featured in the Daily Messenger (7/19/2017): Click here

View the article featured in the Finger Lakes Times (7/19/2017): Click here

Updated: 7/20/2017

Lead Poisoning Prevention 2017 Graphic

Guest essay: Lead poisoning tests essential for children’s health

Ontario County children with high lead levels almost always have been  poisoned by lead paint in their homes after ingesting lead chips or  dust. Dust and chips can be released simply by opening a window  previously painted with lead paint. Unsafe repair practices in homes  built before 1978 can release lead dust into your home, as well. Lead  dust can poison your children.

Have your child’s blood tested for  lead, twice. For children exposed to lead, blood lead levels tend to  increase in the first two years of life and peak by 18-24 months.  Because children with lead poisoning usually don’t act or look sick, New  York State Public Health law requires all children be tested at ages 1  and 2. Repeat testing at 2 is important, because toddlers are active  explorers and put everything in their mouths. In 2016, only 50 percent  of children living in Ontario County received lead testing at age 2.

View the entire guest essay in the Daily Messenger (July 14, 2017): Click here

Updated: 7/20/2017

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Blue Green Algae

Press release pertaining to Blue Green Algae and the temporary closure of Sandy Bottom Beach on Honeoye Lake. 

View the article from the Daily Messenger (July 12, 2017): Click here


Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE's)

Every Positive Interaction With Youth Matters. Help make kids resilient!

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention notes that both positive and negative childhood experiences significantly impact adult wellness. Findings from the study note that the higher an adult ACE score,  the higher the chance of becoming a victim of violence or committing a violent act. High ACE scores are  also linked to a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, drug abuse, obesity, type 2 diabetes, pulmonary disease, stroke, cancer, heart disease and cancer. This makes ACEs  an important public health issue that merits attention and action. To know your ACE score is to know your risk.

In 2006, a group of childhood service providers, pediatricians,  psychologists and health advocates of Healthy Start in Augusta, Maine, developed a survey  to measure a person’s resiliency score. Resiliency factors like asking for help, developing trusting relationships, a positive attitude and listening to one’s feelings can  help improve a person’s life. 

Every positive interaction you have with a child has the potential to impact that child’s risk to chronic disease 20 years down the road. Foster care  workers, volunteers for Boy Scouts, Big Brother/Big Sister, sports team  coaches, community centers — these interactions matter. 

View the article featured in the Finger Lakes Times (June 28, 2017): Click here

View the article featured in the Community Health Magazine (June 28, 2017): Click here

Take the ACE and Resiliency questionnaires: Click here

Updated: 7/20/2017

Choose Health Ontario Award Presented to Geneva Resident

Deacon Henry Farro Honored for Community Work

On March 28, 2017, Jack Marren (Victor), Chairman of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors and Mary Beer, Director of Public Health, presented the Choose Health Ontario Award to Henry Farro of Geneva for his commitment to supporting nutritional health in the community.  The award was presented at the 54th Annual Safety Awards Dinner sponsored by the Ontario County Safety Council. (Submitted March 29, 2017)

Mary Krause Mary Beer Pam Helming

2017 Women Who Make America (Makers) Award

Mary Beer Wins Award
Mary Beer, Director of Ontario County Public  Health has been formally recognized for her tireless efforts in the  field of Public Health. Mary Beer, was one of ten women honored at the  March 10, 2017 award ceremony held at the Women’s Rights Historical Park  in Seneca Falls. Mary was nominated for her laser-focus on public  health needs during her tenure as Ontario County Public Health Director.  She has worked tirelessly to adopt a local law prohibiting smoking,  including the use of e-cigarettes, on County property – efforts that  have reduced smoking rates countywide. She has developed creative  programs aimed at decreasing obesity, managing hypertension, preventing  suicide, and fighting the scourge of the heroin crisis. A leader in her  field, she is an active member of the S2AY Rural Health Network working  on national accreditation procedures for public health departments in  the region. Mary also believes in the importance of volunteering. She  serves on a number of local boards and is an active Hospice volunteer,  dedicated Rotarian, and a bell choir member.

Congratulations Mary and thank you for years of services as the Director of Ontario County Public Health. (March 24, 2017)

Read the full article in the Finger Lakes Times: Click here

2016-2018 Community Health Improvement Plan

Top Three Priorities in Ontario County Identified

In 2016, Ontario County Public Health (OCPH) worked with area hospitals, S2AY Rural Health Network and other community leaders to complete a Community Health Assessment (CHA) and develop a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). Through this effort, three priorities areas were identified.

  • Priority 1: Prevent chronic diseases (including hypertension) by  reducing the rates of obesity and tobacco use.
  • Priority 2: Increase access to preventative healthcare.
  • Priority 3: Promote mental health and prevent substance abuse.

View the full article from the Finger Lakes Times (January 3, 2017): Click here

Updated 7/20/2017)