PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
January 28, 2013

Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

Health Commissioner Commends Local Health Officers for Vital Support Efforts During Sandy

During today's Annual Conference of State and Local Health Officials, Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd praised local and county health officers, thanking them for their efforts to protect the health of residents during Superstorm Sandy. More than 100 health officials from across the state attended the conference held at Robert Wood Johnson, Hamilton Wellness Center.

"Local and county health officials were instrumental in preparing for and responding to Sandy, the most sizable storm to hit New Jersey in over 100 years," said Commissioner O'Dowd. "The expertise of local officials is essential as we continue to help our communities and residents recover."

Local and county health officials played a critical role in setting up local shelters, performing post-storm inspections of food establishments and educating the public about mold removal, how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and how to protect themselves from environmental health hazards while doing recovery work.

The Commissioner offered her thanks during her annual "State of Health" address regularly held during the Annual Conference of State and Local Health Officials.

Commissioner O'Dowd reminded those who are working to cleanup and repair homes and businesses to protect themselves by wearing gloves, masks, protective eye wear and boots and getting a tetanus booster. "Volunteers, members of community-based organizations, homeowners, business owners, first responders, recovery workers and contractors and their employees should take steps to protect themselves from injury and or illness while doing repair work," the Commissioner said.

"Everyone doing repair work should also get a flu shot," the Commissioner said. The Department has a flu shot finder on its website to help individuals locate a pharmacy or local health department near them that is giving flu vaccinations. The flu finder is located at http://nj.gov/health/flu/findflushot.shtml

As part of the Commissioner's address, entitled "Building a Healthier New Jersey" she discussed Department and other state and federal resources available to help with Sandy recovery. She also provided an update on key health issues facing the state such as ongoing influenza activity, and other communicable disease such as Pertussis. She outlined ongoing regional health planning initiatives and encouraged local health officials to work collaboratively with their local health care facilities. She also provided an update on three key Department priority areas: Working Smarter, Palliative and End-of-Life Care and Healthy People and Healthy Communities.  

To view the Commissioner's presentation, please visit: http://nj.gov/health/commiss/commiss_speech.shtml

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