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Environmental Health Services

Call for artists opens for December 2 Memorial project

The December 2 Memorial Committee invites artists, designers and architects locally and internationally to submit their ideas to create the December 2 Memorial project.

The Board of Supervisors retained Community Arts Inc. to assist the committee by issuing an invitational call for submittals to artists, designers, architects and creative teams. More information about the invitational call can be viewed here.

The Memorial Committee selected the east side of the San Bernardino County Government Center campus at 385 N. Arrowhead Avenue in San Bernardino, as a site for the memorial. According to the committee’s mission statement, the artwork must:

  • Permanently honor and celebrate the innocent souls taken from us by a brutal and cowardly act of terror on December 2, 2015 and provide enduring recognition of the county employees who witnessed the attack, many of whom were physically injured and all of whom were spiritually wounded.
  • Acknowledge those who bravely and selflessly provided protection, comfort, and support to the loved ones of those who were lost, the wounded, our San Bernardino County Government Family, and our county community on the day of the attack and in the days, weeks, and months that followed.
  • Ensure that our efforts focus on life, love, peace, tolerance, and San Bernardino County’s historic and enduring tradition of strength, determination and resiliency.

The call is open to everyone. Artists or their representatives are asked to submit documentation including a statement of interest, examples of past projects or artwork, a resume, three professional references, and the availability to start the project in January 2019.

Submittals will be evaluated based upon:

  • Artistic vision
  • Examples of past work
  • Suitability of materials
  • Past experience or the ability to team with experienced architects and engineers
  • Evidence of the artist or team completing past projects on time and within budget

Materials can be submitted online through Slideroom at https://community-arts.slideroom.com. Alternately, submittals can be mailed to: Community Arts, Inc., 15 Douglass Street, San Francisco, CA 94114

Please email questions to: info@community-arts.org.

Submittals of interest from artists are due by 5 p.m. on July 16, 2018. Five artists will be chosen from the submissions and selected artists will be commissioned to develop and submit detailed proposals and maquettes. A finalist will then be chosen to produce the memorial.

The December 2 Memorial Committee, led by Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales, is comprised of employees from the Environmental Health Services division and family members of the county employees who were taken from us on that day along with representatives from appropriate county departments.

Tips for a safe Thanksgiving meal

It is the time of the year when friends and family are together to give thanks for good fortunes and to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving meal. If preparing the feast or just helping out in the kitchen, be sure to follow these helpful tips to prepare a safe Thanksgiving dinner. Guests will be thankful they did not get a foodborne illness.

Handling and Thawing – Always wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 15 seconds before and after handling the turkey. Fresh turkeys need no thawing and are ready to cook. Frozen turkeys can be purchased weeks in advance, but can require several days to thaw before cooking. If planning on purchasing a frozen turkey, first make sure there is sufficient space in the freezer for storage.

Never defrost the turkey on the counter. The safest way to thaw a turkey is in the refrigerator. When ready to thaw the turkey, make enough room for it in the refrigerator. Leave the turkey in the original packaging and place in a shallow pan and allow refrigerator thawing time at a rate of 4 to 5 pounds per 24 hours.

Time to Cook – Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed. Do not refreeze. If purchasing a fresh turkey, cook it within a day or two. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, not touching any bone, and cook to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing, and the thickest part of the breast as well. Cook stuffing separately in a casserole pan to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F or higher. If cooking stuffing in the turkey, ensure the turkey and stuffing both reach 165°F or higher.

Storing Leftovers Safely – Within two hours of taking the turkey out of the oven, store leftover turkey in shallow containers and put them in the refrigerator or freezer. Use cooked leftover turkey, stuffing and gravy within 3 to 4 days. When using leftovers, reheat the foods thoroughly to 165°F and bring gravy to a boil before serving.

For more information, contact San Bernardino County Department of Public Health Division of Environmental Health Services at (800) 442-2283 or visit our website at www.sbcounty.gov/dph/dehs.

EHS: Get a free food thermometer and learn about food safety

barbecue labor dayJust in time for Labor Day, the Division of Environmental Health Services will be providing information regarding food safety, including complimentary food thermometers, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 30 at their offices, 172 West Third Street in San Bernardino.

Labor Day weekend calls for lots of opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities with family and friends, including picnics, barbecues, cookouts and other outdoor parties. The warm weather is perfect for outdoor eating but it also presents opportunities for foodborne illnesses. Remember the following tips to protect yourself, your family, and friends from foodborne illnesses this Labor Day:

  • Wash your hands – before and after handling food
  • Marinate food in the refrigerator – Never marinate food on the counter
  • Keep raw food separate – Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood in a separate cooler or securely wrapped at the bottom of the cooler so their juices won’t contaminate prepared food or raw produce
  • Cook food thoroughly – Use a food thermometer to ensure food is cooked thoroughly to destroy harmful bacteria
  • Keep hot food hot – Keep hot food at 135 degrees or above until served
  • Keep cold food cold – Keep cold food at 41 degrees or below until served

Make it a food safe Labor Day weekend!

Positive indicators for West Nile Virus reported in Colton and Upland

mosquitoThe Division of Environmental Health Service’s Mosquito and Vector Control Program (MVCP) has reported multiple positive indicators for West Nile Virus (WNV) in San Bernardino County. MVCP has sentinel chicken flocks placed in various locations throughout San Bernardino County to detect WNV. If any sentinel chickens test positive for WNV, it means that the mosquito population in these areas are infected, increasing the possible risk of the public being infected. Chickens are not harmed by the virus.

Two chickens from a sentinel flock in Colton were reported to have tested positive for WNV. In addition, a group of mosquitoes collected for testing in Upland and Colton were reported to have tested positive for the virus. MVCP is taking steps to eliminate mosquito breeding hazards.

Those infected with West Nile fever may experience flu-like symptoms that can include fever, body aches, skin rash, and fatigue. In some individuals, West Nile fever can develop into a more serious form of the disease. If you have been bitten by mosquitoes and are experiencing these symptoms, contact your medical care provider.

Residents can protect themselves from WNV by following these tips:

·         Drain or Dump – Remove all standing water around your property where mosquitoes can lay eggs such as birdbaths, green swimming pools, ponds, old tires, buckets, flower pots, clogged gutters, or even puddles from leaky sprinklers.

·         Dawn and Dusk – Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active.

·         Dress – Wear shoes, socks, and long pants and long-sleeved shirts that are loose fitting and light colored.

·         DEET – Apply insect repellent containing DEET according to manufacturer’s directions.

·         Doors – Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.

To learn more about West Nile virus, visit the CDC webpage by clicking here.  

For more information or to report a green pool or mosquito breeding source, contact the Division of Environmental Health Services at (800) 442-2283 or visit our website at http://www.sbcounty.gov/dph/dehs.

To our Environmental Health Family

mourning bandMy dearest family,

We are all deeply saddened by the events that occurred this past week. We mourn the loss of our fallen friends and pray for those injured to recover. Some of us witnessed horrific scenes unfold in front of our eyes. This has shaken all of us. Yet, we are grateful for the many lives that were spared. We need to come together and strengthen one another other as we say goodbye to our beloved coworkers and seek to heal wounded hearts.This past week Corwin and I were able to visit many of our injured in various hospitals. We were amazed out how positive and upbeat our colleagues were despite their injuries. We were happy to see many in stable condition and others being released to return home.

Because this has touched us all deeply, please do not hesitate to access the counseling hotline at 909-421-9495 to help in the coping and healing process.

All county offices with the exception of Environmental Health Services will resume full operation on Monday, December 7th. Environmental Health will return on December 14th. In the meantime e-time will be taken care of for EHS employees by payroll and you will be paid as usual.

Security will be increased at public health buildings throughout San Bernardino to provide added peace of mind. In addition all Environmental Health staff from the Rancho and San Bernardino offices will report to 172 3rd St. on the 14th of December. Additional details regarding this relocation will be provided during the coming week.

Some have asked what they can do to help. Several charities have been established so there is an opportunity to donate to the charity of your choice. The County Board of Supervisors and the Arrowhead United Way also established the “San Bernardino United Relief fund” for all those affected by the December 2nd incident.

The FBI is planning to release vehicles and personal items within the coming week. You will be contacted by the FBI with details on when and where this will occur.

We are strong.  We will get through this together. Thank you for your courage during these difficult times. Should you have any concerns or needs, please do not hesitate to let us know.

Trudy Raymundo

Corwin Porter

Invasive mosquitoes found in San Bernardino County

mosquitoOn Oct. 15, the Department of Public Health, Division of Environmental Health Services, Mosquito and Vector Control Program discovered Aedes albopictus (the Asian tiger mosquito) in the city of Upland, and Aedes aegypti (the yellow fever mosquito) in the city of Colton. Specimens were confirmed by the state Department of Public Health, Division of Communicable Disease Control Vector-Borne Disease Section.

The Asian tiger and the yellow fever mosquito bite primarily during the day, both indoors and outdoors. The adults are small (about a quarter-inch in size), are dark brown or black, and have distinctive white markings around the body and legs.Both species of mosquito are not native to California, but are found elsewhere in the U.S. and in many other regions of the world (the yellow fever mosquito prefers tropical and subtropical areas).The Asian tiger mosquito was discovered in Los Angeles County in 2011 and has recently been detected in Kern and San Diego counties. The yellow fever mosquito was discovered in urban areas of Fresno, Madera and San Mateo counties in 2013 and is now found in 12 California counties. Most recently, the yellow fever mosquito was detected in Riverside County and the city of Montclair.

Both species of mosquito have the potential to transmit several viral diseases including dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever, although the risk of transmission in California is still low.

At the beginning of the 2015 season, the Mosquito and Vector Control Program established a Mosquito Day-Biting Surveillance Program in anticipation of the arrival of invasive Aedes mosquitoes to the county. Specialized traps were placed in target areas to monitor changes in mosquito populations and to collect mosquitoes for disease testing.

Artificial or natural water-filled containers that are within or around the home are ideal habitats for these mosquitoes. Female mosquitoes can lay eggs in any container holding as little as a teaspoon of water– plant saucers, cups, bird baths, old tires. Eggs have the ability to dry out and survive for several months.

“I strongly encourage the public to be aware of mosquito activity around their homes as well as other outdoor areas and take action to protect themselves and their family by taking appropriate precautionary measures,” said Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, Health Officer. Residents can help control these aggressive and highly invasive mosquitoes by taking the following precautions:

  •  Drain or Dump – Remove all standing water around your property where mosquitos lay eggs such as birdbaths, old tires, pet watering dishes, buckets, or even clogged gutters.
  • Clean and scrub any container with stored water to remove possible eggs.
  • Dress – Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts whenever you are outdoors to avoid mosquito bites.
  • DEET – Apply insect repellent containing DEET, PICARDIN, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • Doors – Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes to prevent mosquitos from entering your home.

If you notice these small black and white mosquitoes in or around your home, please contact the Mosquito and Vector Control Program at (800) 442-2283. For more information, you can call us or visit our website at www.sbcounty.gov/dph/dehs, or the state Department of Public Health website at http://bit.ly/1u35fQx .

Health inspection scores now available on Yelp

foodphotoRestaurant inspection grades are now available on Yelp business pages, through a partnership between the County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health, Division of Environmental Health Services (DEHS) and the popular review site Yelp. The collaboration was part of Yelp’s initiative to allow local municipalities to display their health inspection data on the site alongside other business attributes such as service quality, parking availability, and business hours.

“Health inspection reports have been available on our web site since 2006,” said DEHS Division Chief Corwin Porter. “Although many people use our web site to find these reports, many more people use Yelp as a go-to resource for information about local businesses. We are grateful to Yelp for helping us in our efforts to improve public access to our valuable inspection data.”

The A, B, and C grades posted on food facility windows and doors are based on compliance with health and safety regulations. Consumers who visit Yelp to look at restaurant reviews will also be able to see the restaurant’s latest inspection letter grade and any violations and/or corrections. All San Bernardino County restaurants’ inspection data for the last two years are currently available on Yelp.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 48 million people become sick from foodborne illness each year, causing 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths annually. Almost half of reported foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States occur in restaurant settings.

“We are always striving to find new and innovative ways to better protect public health and safety through making data available to the public,” said DEHS Program Manager Josh Dugas. “The idea is to empower consumers to make informed decisions about where they eat. We are excited about this collaboration with Yelp and what it means for our residents and visitors.”

The services provided by DEHS are in line with the Countywide Vision to protect the health and safety of residents and visitors. Information on the Countywide Vision, Job Statement, and Paradigm can be found at www.sbcounty.gov/vision.

For more information please contact DEHS at (800) 442-2283 or visit www.sbcounty.gov/dph/dehs.

Government Works: Health inspection program wins national award

Final Government Works StampAn innovative program to assist restaurants and other food facilities in reducing health violations in San Bernardino County was recognized by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO).

The Health Education Liaison Program, which was implemented in 2012, was one of 19 programs nationwide and the only program in California to receive NACCHO’s prestigious Model Practice Award.

The Department of Public Health’s Division of Environmental Health Sciences (DEHS) developed the program because critical violations, if left uncorrected, can directly contribute to foodborne illness, posing significant risks to public health and safety.

“Our goal is to help businesses in our county be successful, while also protecting public health,” said Division Chief Corwin Porter. “This award is a great honor and evidence of our commitment to delivering high-quality services to residents of San Bernardino County.”

As part of HELP, low-scoring food facilities are offered a focused one-on-one consultation with an experienced Registered Environmental Health Specialist. During the consultation, the HELP consultant makes recommendations that are tailored to meet the needs of each food facility. A final report is sent to the facility addressing any areas of concern and recommendations to maintain long-lasting results and compliance. HELP is also offered to new facilities wanting to understand health and safety regulations.

The Board of Supervisors acknowledged DEHS for winning the award at a special presentation on Aug. 11.

“This award is in recognition of the working partnerships between Environmental Health Services and food facilities throughout San Bernardino County”, said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos.

HELP is now part of NACCHO’s online, publicly-accessible database of innovative best practices across a broad range of public health areas.

The services offered by DEHS are in line with the Countywide Vision to protect the health and safety of residents and visitors. Information on the Countywide Vision, Job Statement, and Paradigm can be found at www.sbcounty.gov/vision.

This is an example of how Government Works.

To learn more about HELP and other DEHS services, please visit our web page at www.sbcounty.gov/dph/dehs or contact us at (800)442-2283.

Government Works: Improving food safety through health education

Final Government Works Stamp

Food service facilities in San Bernardino County can sometimes have reoccurring critical violations increasing the risk of food borne illness outbreaks and low inspection scores. This can have a negative financial impact on businesses.

Did you know the Division of Environmental Health Services  implemented a Health Education Liaison Program that promotes effective strategies to improve inspection scores, raise food safety standards, and strengthen operator’s managerial control measures to meet long-term compliance objectives?

Low scoring facilities are referred to HELP by district inspectors. The HELP consultation is performed at no cost to the facility and has assisted participating food facilities in achieving a 10% reduction in critical violations.

An example of the effectiveness of this program is represented by a facility that went from a score of 73 (C grade) before the HELP consultation, and increased to a score of 90 (A grade) on their next unannounced routine inspection five months later.

The Health Education Liaison Program was recently recognized with an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties.

This is an example of how Government Works.

Sentinel chicken in Rialto tests positive for West Nile Virus

westnilevirusThe Division of Environmental Health Service’s Mosquito and Vector Control Program has sentinel chicken flocks placed in various locations throughout San Bernardino County to detect West Nile Virus which is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. A chicken from a sentinel flock in Rialto was reported to have tested positive for West Nile Virus. This means it is more likely that the mosquito population in the area is infected, increasing the possible risk of the public being infected. Chickens are not harmed by the virus. This is the first chicken that tested positive for West Nile Virus in 2014 within the area served by the Division’s Mosquito and Vector Control Program. The County is taking steps to eliminate mosquito breeding hazards.

West Nile Virus symptoms can include fever, body aches, skin rash, and fatigue, and in some individuals can develop into a more serious form of the disease. If you have been bitten by mosquitoes and are experiencing these symptoms, contact your medical care provider.

Residents should not be concerned but can protect themselves from West Nile Virus by following these tips:

  • Drain or Dump – Remove all standing water around your property where mosquitos can lay eggs such as birdbaths, green swimming pools, ponds, old tires, buckets, flower pots, clogged gutters, or even puddles from leaky sprinklers.
  • Dawn and Dusk – Avoid spending time outside when mosquitos are most active.
  • Dress – Wear shoes, socks, and long pants and long-sleeved shirts that are loose fitting and light colored.
  • DEET – Apply insect repellent containing DEET according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • Doors – Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes to prevent mosquitos from entering your home.

Dead birds are another sign that West Nile Virus is present in the area. If you see a dead bird, submit an online dead bird report at http://www.westnile.ca.gov.

To learn more about West Nile Virus, visit http://www.cdc.gov/westnile. For more information or to report a green pool or mosquito breeding source, contact the County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health Division of Environmental Health Services at (800) 442-2283 or visit our website at http://www.sbcounty.gov/dph/dehs.

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