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Fulton County Health Board Hears COVID-19 Update; Conducts Annual Reorganization

By: Rebecca Miller

The meeting was called to order around 8 a.m. on April 14, 2020 by Fulton County Health Commissioner Kim Cupp. Present were Board Members Dr. Kenton Camp, Kerry Vandock, Dr. Keith Lehman, Steve Van Sickle, and Denise Heban.

From the Health Department were Director of Nursing Marissa Dopp, Environmental Director Pat Wiemken, Nurse Practitioner Deb Roth, CEE Director Beth Thomas and Health Educator Rachel Kinsman, as well as Cupp.

In her report, Director of Nursing Marissa Dopp informed the board that Fulton County has six confirmed cases of COVID-19 (As of April 14, 2020).

Following the approval of the March 10, 2020 minutes, Cupp reported that she had met with the District Advisory Council on March 24 but there was not a quorum to conduct business.

An Executive Committee meeting was held and the group appointed Denise Heban, who accepted. They will be setting up another virtual meeting soon.

Cupp then led the board in the annual reorganization of the Board of Health. Dr. Lehman accepted position of President, Steve VanSickle as President pro tem, and committee assignments were all kept the same as members were willing to do so.

In Fiscal Business, the Board heard a report provided by Jane Sauder and presented by Commissioner Cupp. The Board reviewed and accepted the Monthly Financial statements, the bills, an adjustment, an intra fund transfer and reimbursement of Health Insurance Expense.  Vandock asked for an explanation concerning a listing of a partial payment.

Cupp explained, “It has been a very long time since we have done a salary study so we contracted with this company to do one. The process has been long and drawn out due to some things that happened in their company and it has taken much longer than we expected. The cost of the service should take that into consideration, so I am advocating that this be the full payment for what we have received.”

In the section of the Agenda labeled Contracts, Cupp that in Environmental, they are paying Dave’s Service, due to water pollution control funds.  The General Health items included AA of Pediatrics – A bike helmet agreement; Baldwin Group – HDIS Maintenance and Support; Lamar – Lead Grant Billboards; and Ohio Department of Health – Lead grant.

She explained also that Days Inn Wyndham and the Fulton County Fairgrounds have signed an agreement with the Health Department to be a place for people to live for isolation when needed. The thought of asking the Fairgrounds to accommodate people in their campers came when a gentleman who was concerned for his wife who has cancer, if he were to get the coronavirus, asked the Health Department if he could go there in their camper if he needs to isolate.

The FCHC is holding off on School Nurse contracts for the coming year until the know what the needs of the schools are. Cupp will be in communication with the school superintendents. The board voted to approve all the presented contracts.

In her report, Environmental Health Director Pat Wiemken informed the Board of Health that there are currently eleven Household Sewage Treatment systems in the queue that are using Water Pollution Control Loan Fund. In her update on Public Health Orders she said, “There has been extensive progress made in the cleanup of the Lewis Fahrer property.”

“Two sheds have been removed and the yard has been cleared of the brush and tall weeds. One vehicle has been removed and they are waiting for a dumpster to arrive to remove solid waste. The township trustees have been very helpful in their efforts.”

Concerning Delta 109, all items except the replacement of the floor coverings has been completed.

As to the COVID-19 response, they have been able to maintain some of the essential programs, such as sewers, wells and complaints. The staff has been alternating days of working from home and trying to use some vacation time to keep them all separated.

As far as the community keeping the Stay at Home Order, the Health Department has been sending information to their licensed facilities. They have investigated complaints of non-compliance for approximately seventy four business and provided information to several hundred individuals regarding the Stay at Home Order.

The police have been willing to break up large groups, help find addresses,  and are educating people about social distancing. “They have been very helpful,” Weimken said in response to a question.

Community Health Services (CHS) was given by Director of Nursing Marissa Dopp:

  • Immunizations are still being provided for children in the 12 month set that need to be brought up to date, as well as Flu and Shigrix
  • For Reproductive Health and Wellness: they have been completing visits via Telehealth. Ohio Department of Health has inquired via survey about a continuing desire to keep using Telehealth beyond COVID-19. The department is also seeing patients at the Health Department building on an as needed basis and performing select services curbside.
  • BCCP (Breast and Survical Cancer Project) staff are now working from home remotely. They continue to schedule diagnostic procedures for patients. NE Region calls are successfully being transferred to Fulton County.
  •   Mom’s Quit for Two (a program that receives grant funds and supports pregnant mothers  who want to stop smoking) is continuing via phone and they are mailing the Diaper vouchers to participants. There has been one new enrollment bringing the group to seven participants and one partner.
  • Deadlines and expectations for grants have been adjusted based on the current pandemic response and stay at home orders.
  • CMH (Children with Medical Handicap) is being provided by phone and seems to be going well.

CEE (Community Education and Engagement) Update was given by CEE director Beth Thomas.  She shared that Alcohol sales have increase 59% nationally with a 243% increase in online alcohol sales. There is concern about this as there is 891% increase in the volume of calls to the National Mental Health Crisis Line.

“Risk factors for increased substance use are high,” Thomas said, “with social activities being around alcohol such as Wine with DeWine for the daily press conference. Young people are unsupervised and with alcohol now allowed with food carry out, there is increased access to alcohol.”

Concerning the Community and School based Health Programming, there are four staff who are working remotely. Thomas and Health Educator/HD Public Info Officer Rachel Kinsman are working from the office and meet virtually weekly to touch base with all on the staff as well as sending daily emails and texts to monitor the work load, etc. Most of the work is continuing on a modified basis as they work with community to identify and address unmet needs.

For Specific programs, Thomas informed the board:

  • BTIO (Baby Think It Over – the program in which high school students take a “baby” home with them as well as learning about relationships) staff continues to reach out to participants and has created virtual curriculum materials to be distributed to participating schools
  • RoX (Ruling out Experiences – also a school based program designed to teach life skills to young girls for relationships and resiliency, preventing any negative relationships) staff continue to reach out to participants and are working with RoX Central to develop curriculum to be shared with participants and families.
  • YLP (Youth Led Prevention in the schools and is also an element outside of schools outside of school with hight school students.) At the schools’ request, these programs are on hold. Staff continues to reach out to participants via regular mail.
  • YAC ( Youth led Prevention/ Youth Advisory Council about substance use prevention) YAC staff continues to engage youth daily through SLACK channel and virtually meeting 2 x a month; youth are working to adapt their vaping project to current situation.

The coalition, HC3 (Healthy Choices Caring Communities, a community wide coalition that works on substance use prevention) continues to meet virtually monthly; Regional Learning Community, Study Group, Pacira and PUSH grant expectations/deliverables have been modified for the current situation.

Thomas also expressed great appreciation to Kinsman for her work on the Social Media front, saying that the HD Facebook page  had 9.7 thousand engagements with their posts this week.

In other business, Commissioner Cupp gave updates on a few topics including the COVID-19 Response, the Fulton County Health Department Building update and Public Health Policy/Legislation.

The county Emergency Operations Center has been activated, with Cupp as the commander and they have been meeting once a week by phone. The six-pack of Health Commissioners continue to meet and share information and advice with each other.

The Ohio Department of Health has been holding program meetings for technical guidance. Cupp said that even as she has started the weekly phone updates and plans to continue those for a few more weeks, she is looking forward to the next phase of the pandemic control.

She informed the Board that WIC has had a definite increase and all are being handled by meeting the people at their vehicle, taking their card into the office to reload it, using cleaning precautions and then returning the card to the vehicle.

March was down slightly for issuing birth certificates. For Death Certificates, the Funeral Directors are not going into the office. The death certificates are taken out to their vehicle for them.  Masks are worn and grippers to take the cards and paperwork are used.

Presently there are thirty-eight staff with twenty still working on site. The rest are working from home. Environmental, WIC, two CEE, nursing, clerical vital statistics and herself are the ones still there.

There have been about five individuals working seven days a week.  Calls have slowed down a little as the reporting has been changed to doing it within 24 hours instead of immediately.

In response to a question from a Board member, Cupp said that the mental state of the staff is good as they definitely are focusing on that. She has been having weekly meetings.

They recognize the importance of it and are also fortunate that they have access to counseling at no cost. They are encouraging making conversations with friends a priority.  They are doing moral activities as well.

Dr. Keith Lehman personally thanked the staff for the help they gave him when he had a situation on a weekend. Dr. Kamp also said he has appreciated that. Dopp thanked the Dr.s for their support and help in the community.

Cupp shared, “We are very fortunate that we work well together and everyone is doing a phenomenal job.”

Cupp requested a resolution authorizing the staff to do anything specific in line with the stay at home order being enforced. Dr. Kamp asked what she meant by enforcement and she explained if an essential business is operating without a hand washing sink available, they can require it of them. They have had to speak with different communities about the mini parades and things like that not being essential trips. The Board voted to approve.

As part of the temporary operations plan in response to Covid 19, she asked if having the meetings by phone could be turned into a policy and as a result the “signatures” would be covered as the recording of the meeting would be accepted as documentation. The Board voted to approve.

She also asked if the Temporary Operations Plan could be converted into a policy.

It would address hours during this time.  The board voted to approve.  In her building update she recommended that they put plans on hold for addition to the building, that it would “be prudent as we don’t know what things will look like financially!” The board thought that was wise, and approved.

In Health Commissioner Reports Cupp said that the annual training was done during March. Also said that when they get back to the “new normal” they will have to adjust again back to getting other things done, as right now the COVID-19 response is at the top of the list every day.

The Board comments were all thoughts of encouragement and gratitude for the work being done. “Thank you for the above and beyond work that you are doing with such great attitudes and for all the planning ahead that you have done that made you ready for this. Great job.”

Cupp said that sometimes the Possible Emergency Exercises of the past and the planning were seen as maybe a waste of time, but now they are so glad they did it!  “Overall we are doing well. We are looking forward to more testing and more PPE.”

Rebecca can be reached at publisher@thevillagereporter.com


 

The post Fulton County Health Board Hears COVID-19 Update; Conducts Annual Reorganization appeared first on The Village Reporter.


Source: The Village Reporter

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