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Summer Food Safety Tips

Ah, summer! An excellent time for barbecues, picnics, hiking and boating. There are many outdoor eating opportunities with family and friends—and the last guest you want to invite is food borne illness. Clean your hands, utensils and surfaces with soap and water, then follow these tips to keep food safe:

• Separate raw meat and poultry—and the plates and utensils that touch them—from other foods. Avoid cross-contamination with raw meats by using clean knives and cutting boards for produce and other foods.

• Keep hot food in crock-pots or ovens and serve small amounts more frequently.

• Be chill: Avoid leaving food at room temperature for longer than 2 hours (or 1 hour, if over 90°F. Instead, keep food in an insulated cooler with ice or ice packs (ice above and below food is best).

• When in doubt, toss it out: All foods left without temperature control for 1 hour or more and have reached room temperature (>75°F) should not be served to you or your guests.

Getting food poisoning from unsafe food may take hours to days to develop, depending on the type of germ. The most common symptoms food poisoning include upset stomach, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. See a doctor you have severe symptoms, including but not limited to, a fever over 100°F, bloody diarrhea, frequent vomiting that prevents keeping liquids down, and signs of dehydration, including a very dry mouth or throat or little/no urination.

If you’ve been diagnosed with food borne illness, please contact your local health department.

Flyer to share: Summer food safety poster

This health education topic brought to you by the Cooperative Public Health Service Health District — contact Health Educator Maureen O’Reilly with any questions at moreillyATfrcog.org

 

Happy Juneteenth!

Happy Juneteenth, Franklin County!
The FRCOG is commemorating Juneteenth and the contributions of Black residents of Franklin County today. Learn more about the history of African Americans in  our nation and region, and about the holiday:

Summer Tick Safety Materials

From the Cooperative Public Health Service Team:

With the warmer weather, ticks are out-and-about. Ticks can transmit diseases to humans when they bite; the longer a tick remains attached to the skin, the higher the likelihood that it may spread bacteria that cause tick-borne illnesses.

In recent years, more than 34% of local deer ticks tested positive for Lyme and more than 5% for anaplasmosis, the two tick-borne diseases occurring most frequently in the Franklin County region. Although only deer ticks (aka black-legged ticks) can transmit Lyme and anaplasmosis, other ticks should be avoided because they can transmit less common diseases.

Luckily, there are many things we can do to prevent tick-borne diseases:

  • When outdoors, stick to hiking trails, wear light-colored clothing (to see ticks) and tuck in loose ends.
  • Make a habit of checking yourself, your children, and pets for ticks after coming inside. Think like a tick: ticks often hitch a ride after physical contact with brushy plants—start by checking feet, ankles, legs and any place below the belt, and work your way upwards.
  • Use tick repellents, like DEET (designed for skin) and pre-treat clothing, including socks and shoes, with permethrin (not to be put on skin). Permethrin is invisible and odorless and stays effective in fabric through many washings. Using both repellents together is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Department of Defense (DOD).
  • Find more prevention information at mass.gov/mosquitoes-and-ticks and at tickencounter.org.

    Removing a tick: If you have been bitten (the tick is attached to your skin), remove the tick with fine-tipped tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible, and pull with steady, even force. Wash the bite area and continue to check for several weeks; if you develop flu-like symptoms or a rash, see your primary care provider.

    Testing a tick:  You can identify how risky a tick is at http://www.tickencounter.org.If you need to test the tick for tick-borne diseases, save the tick in a small, plastic bag. Log on to www.tickreport.com and follow the mailing instructions.  Thanks to the local Boards of Health and the FRCOG, many residents need only pay $15 of the full $50 cost of getting a tick tested.

Flyers for download and sharing:

FRCOG Executive Committee Has Opening for Regionally Elected Seat

The Franklin Regional Council of Governments anticipates an opening for one of two regionally elected, non-partisan leadership seats that provide guidance and oversight to our organization. The candidate(s) will be on the ballot in every Franklin County town for general election in November. The term for the seat is four years and begins in January 2023. Candidates cannot be from the same town as any of the other four  members of the Executive Committee,  which currently includes a representative from Colrain, Greenfield, and Montague, and one open seat that has yet to be appointed for the new term by the Franklin Regional Regional Planning Board.

For more information, click on the link below, and please don’t hesitate to contact Rebekah Boyd at 413-774-3167 x100 or at admin@frcog.org with questions.

Regionally Elected Seat “Job Description.”

 

CPHS Public Health Nurses Announce Walk-In Wellness Clinics

Lisa White and Meg Ryan, Public Health Nurses at the Cooperative Public Health Service Health District announce an updated schedule of Walk-In Wellness Clinics across the district.

Services available to member town residents include:

  • Preventative and diagnostic health screenings
  • Flu and COVID vaccinations
  • Individualized help managing chronic health conditions
  • Tools for medication self-management (medication calendars, files of life, pill sorters)
  • Mercury thermometer & sharps disposal and container exchange (collaboration with Franklin Cty Solid Waste Mgmt. District)
  • Home visits available to residents in need

Flyers for printing and sharing:

Schedule of Clinics:

  • Ashfield: First Congregational Church: first Food Pantry Tuesday each month 2 pm-4 pm (February 8, March 8, April 5)
  • Bernardston:  currently on hiatus
  • Charlemont: 2nd Tuesday 10:30-12. Federated Church, 3rd Tuesday 4-5:30 during Good Neighbors Food Distribution
  • Conway:   1st Friday 9 am to noon. Conway Town Hall,  home visits following.
  • Deerfield:  Weekly, Wednesdays 10 am to 2 pm, Nurses’ office, Town Offices.
  • Erving:  1st Tuesday 9-11.   Erving Senior/Community Center.
  • Gill:  2nd Fridays, 10 to noon, Stoughton Place  Community Room.
  • Rowe: 4th Monday 10 am-12 pm , Town Hall
  • Shelburne:  4th Tuesday  10:30 am to noon, The Senior Center

Meg Ryan, RN, BSN, CPHS Public Health Nurse at the Franklin Regional Council of Governments. (Photo credit: Recorder)

Lisa White, PhD, RN, CPHS Public Health Nurse at the Franklin Regional Council of Governments.

Celebrating Safely: Winter Gathering Guidance

The winter gatherings safety poster is available in color and black and white PDFs for printing as well as a JPEG for digital sharing below.

winter gatherings safety tip sheet 2021 color

winter gatherings safety tip sheet 2021 greyscale

Flu Clinics

The flu season is beginning! Everyone six months of age or older needs a flu vaccine. When most of us are vaccinated, we build community immunity that protects the elderly, children, and those with compromised immune systems from the terrible effects of influenza.  During the current coronavirus pandemic, flu vaccination is all the more important for staying healthy and conserving needed health care services.  For information on prevention, symptoms, and treatment of influenza, visit www.flu.gov

The Cooperative Public Health Service (CPHS) is offering influenza vaccines (with no insurance co-pay) to area residents at regularly scheduled wellness clinics throughout the region. 

Where and When are Flu Clinics Happening?

  • Public Flu Clinics organized by the FRCOG’s Health District have ended. Small onsite clinics at senior centers and older adult housing facilities in district member towns continue.
  • All local chain pharmacies have flu vaccinations as well.

What to expect:  

A COVID self-screen is required of everyone attending.  Face masks and physical distancing as possible are required.  Local public health, public safety, fire and EMS, along with other community leaders and volunteers including members of the Franklin County/Western Massachusetts Medical Reserve Corps are staffing these clinics.

What kind of vaccine is available?

Both injectable and flu mist formulas for kids will be available this year.  Senior High-Dose formulas will be available at most clinics for those over age 65.  Visit this page regularly for updates and any changes and contact Lisa White, RN, Regional Public Health Nurse of FRCOG, at 413-774-3167 x 156 for any special needs. We are exploring offering COVID boosters when they are approved by the state.

 Volunteering  at  Flu  Clinics

We have a long history of providing flu clinics to the region! This year most volunteers are from the Medical Reserve Corps and local emergency dispensing site planning groups. To join the MRC, visit www.wmmrc.org 

If you are a registered volunteer who will work as a scribe, vaccinator, or registration helper, you need to register for the COLOR software. Do that by filling out THIS FORM.

Pictured: the team for a 2018 flu vaccination clinic held at Deerfield Elementary including CPHS staff, Medical Reserve Corps, Greenfield Community College nursing students, public health leaders, public safety, EMS and community volunteers

Contact Lisa White, RN, Regional Public Health Nurse of FRCOG, at 413-774-3167 x 156 for updated schedule and more information or visit this page regularly.

Other  Clinics will be posted here as we get information on them. 

For more information on the CPHS, click here.

 

Face Covering Signs Available

Call 413-774-3167 x 1 if you would like printed color copies of any of these signs for your town/business.  Our thanks to Kat Woods Design for the donation of graphic design of the “Masks Recommended”, “Masks Required,”  School Mask and Distance and “Unvaccinated?” signs, to the Brookline Health Department for the “Thank you for Wearing A Mask” sign, and to Katie’s Doodles for the “It goes over your nose” signs.  Further down this page you will find pdfs of these signs.

Available as 8.5 x 11 signs.

 

These are available as post-card size signs.

The following two signs are available with age exemptions of 2 or 5 years old

(all versions also acknowledge medical exemptions)

Available on strong paper for posting on entry doors — 8.5 x 11. Versions are available with age exemptions of 2 or 5 years old.

 

Available on strong paper for posting on entry doors — 8.5 x 11. Versions are available with age exemptions of 2 or 5 years old.

 

Please note the following two signs are larger than 8.5 x 11

 

These are for schools and are 11x 17 strong paper.

 

These are very big — 2 feet by 3 feet, outdoor signs.

 

PDFs for the above signs:

**COVID-19 VACCINE – FRANKLIN COUNTY INFORMATION**

COVID-19 Vaccine in Franklin County

Franklin County Covid-19 vaccination information and Regional Collaborative Vaccine Clinic updates have moved to our new website at www.franklincountymavaccine.org 

Who’s Eligible?

See if you are eligible, https://www.mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine

Where to get vaccinated and how to find appointments

See comprehensive listing of Massachusetts vaccination sites with details on how to schedule appointments, https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/

Find County specific information at, www.franklincountymavaccine.org

Vaccine Information and Updates

These situation reports including key updates for the Franklin County vaccination effort are released each Friday afternoon and more often as needed.

Latest Franklin County Covid-19 Vaccine Situation Report, Friday March 19, 2021

State Vaccination Reports are released daily and weekly: MA daily and weekly vaccination reports.

FRCOG’s COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline

Regularly updated message about vaccine availability, call 413-774-3167 extension 153. Please share this number with anyone who prefers to receive information over the phone.

Resources for Seniors

For help scheduling an appointment, arranging transportation, or if you are a home-bound person, call LifePath at 413-829-9285.

People without access to the internet can get help scheduling an appointment at a state run vaccination site, call 2-1-1.

Additional Resources