Welcome to our November 2021 Live Well Allegheny e-update. Please find a variety of information that will be helpful to you in your efforts and can also be shared within your own networks. As always, you can find a great deal of information on our website, including our Partner Resources.
We now have 216 community partners, 68 municipalities, 53 restaurants, 33 workplaces and 18 school districts united in our efforts to make Allegheny County healthy for all!
A Letter From Our Director
Greetings from the Director’s Office,
In typical years, from late November through New Year’s we are busy with family gatherings, holiday celebrations, and end of year work, school and other organizational parties and festivities. But 2020 and 2021 were not ordinary years – in fact they were extraordinary.
The pandemic, which we had all hoped would be over by now, has not ended. We had hoped that we would rid ourselves of the virus, but it is now clear that is not what will happen, and we again need to adjust our expectations and rethink our long-term plans.
SARS-CoV2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – will become part of the local, national, and international pool of viruses that infect humans – like influenza, rhinovirus (causes common cold), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and many others. Because it will no longer be a novel virus to our immune systems due to vaccinations and infections, the virus should over time impact fewer people and be less deadly than it has been. However, we do not yet have vaccine for our youngest children and most of those ages 5 to 11 years will not be fully vaccinated during these holidays. Not all those at highest risk, like seniors, have gotten boosters yet. Therefore, I ask that everyone stay the course through the New Year.
Some simple advice during the holidays: Wear your masks to reduce the spread of the virus – especially in public places like grocery stores, malls, and large events. For parties, keep them on the smaller size and ask people to get vaccinated and tested before attending. When possible, keep windows open during indoor gatherings to increase air circulation. If you are sick or not feeling well – don’t attend gatherings and get tested. If you are eligible for a booster, which nearly all those 18 and older are if they are 6 months from their last vaccine, go and get one.
The new year will bring new treatments for COVID-19, vaccines for our youngest children, and data driven modifications to our advice and our mitigation efforts.
Please have a safe and happy Thanksgiving and holiday season. Speaking of safety – food safety is important during the holidays! Please find below some resources shared with me from our Food Safety Program.
Happy Holidays – be safe and be kind!
Dr. Debra Bogen
Director, Allegheny County Health Department
Holiday Food Safety Tips and Resources
- Plan ahead when you’re thawing big cuts of meat like turkey or ham. These can take several days to thaw in a refrigerator and should never be thawed at room temperature on a countertop.
- Always wash your hands before you start preparing food and then frequently while you’re cooking. Especially wash your hands after you touch your cell phone every time!
- Make sure your food is all the way cooked by checking it with a thermometer to see that it has reached the proper temperature. Make sure your thermometer is giving you an accurate reading by checking it first in a cup of ice water to see that it reads 32° F. For more details, check out these thermometer tips.
- If you’re putting out a spread of foods like shrimp cocktail, cheese, or other items that need to be kept cold, only put out a portion of each at the start of the party. When something gets low, restock it with fresh items from the refrigerator.
- Leftovers can make great meals. But to make sure they are safe:
- Cool them promptly in shallow, uncovered containers in the refrigerator
- Once they are cool, cover them and label them with the day they were made and a use by date no more than 6 days later
- Reheat them to 165° F or more
For more information about safe holiday entertaining, check out the links below:
- ACHD’s Tips for Parties and Holidays
- ACHD’s Safe Food Handling Tips
- FoodSafety.gov’s Keep Food Safe
- Partnership for Food Safety Education’s Food Safety in All Seasons
- USDA’s Map to a Food-Safe Holiday Infographic
- USDA’s Holiday or Party Buffets
If you have questions, call the Food Safety Program at (412) 578-8044 or email email@example.com
November is Tobacco Awareness Month
About 34 million American adults still smoke cigarettes, and smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world. No matter your age or how long you’ve been smoking, quitting improves health both immediately and over the long term. For resources on quitting smoking visit: Tobacco Free Adagio Health.
What’s Happening in Public Health
Partner Information & Opportunities
Please join us for our final Live Well Allegheny Collaborative Virtual Speaker Series of 2021 on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2021 from 10 a.m.-11 a.m.
The topic is Eating Healthy on a Budget, and our speaker will be from Adagio Health.
Questions for the speaker can be sent to Victoria.Baker@AlleghenyCounty.us – please email any questions by Nov. 30.
To sign up use the QR code or use this form!
Thank you & hope to see you there!
The Food Trust launches an Online Learning Hub
The Food Trust has launched an Online Learning Hub. This is a virtual learning center that offers videos, lessons, tips, and resources on eating healthy and getting active.
Check it out for yourself at the Food Trust’s Online Learning Hub!
Live Well Allegheny Story
Pittsburgh Public Schools Adopt the Good Food Purchasing Policy
The Good Food Purchasing Policy (GFFP) was created by the Center for Good Food Purchasing. This policy helps institutions prioritize healthy, sustainable, regional, and fair foods in their purchasing contracts. The Pittsburgh Food Policy Council is working with Pittsburgh Public Schools and other community partners to create, promote and help implement a “Good Food Purchasing Policy” in the district.
The GFFP emphasizes five fundamental values:
- Environmental Sustainability
- Regional economics
- Valued workforce
- Animal Welfare
The Center for Good Food Purchasing works with agencies and institutions to commit to using language that promotes these values in their food contracts by adopting a purchasing policy.
On Wednesday, Oct. 27, the Pittsburgh Board of Public Education passed the Good Food Purchasing Policy for the district. PPS is the second largest school district in Pennsylvania and serves over 23,000 meals daily with a food service budget around $15 million, primarily funded by meal reimbursements through federal programs.
“Nationally, initiatives like the Good Food Purchasing Policy and Program are designed to strengthen regional food economies and protect communities, workers, and buyers from the types of food supply chain shocks that we are now seeing as a result of the pandemic,” said Sarah Buranskas, Project Manager, Pittsburgh Food Policy Council.
The GFFP Coalition includes Pittsburgh Public Schools, Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, Pittsburgh parents, Center for Good Food Purchasing, Allegheny County Health Department (REACH), UPMC Children’s Hospital, Adagio Health, PPS Food Service Department, Imagine PPS, PPS Obama 6-8, Pasa Sustainable Agriculture and Humane Action Pittsburgh.
View the press release.
The Good Food Pittsburgh Coalition meets on the second Monday of each month from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. If you have any questions, please contact Sarah Buranskas or Jennifer Giovanniello with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.