Salem Health Department looks at more than COVID | News, Sports, Jobs

SALEM — The city’s health district nursing division is starting to focus on more than the COVID-19 pandemic, with a health fair scheduled for this spring.

“We are now considering raising awareness” said city health commissioner Alanna Stainbrook.

This will include posting more educational health information on the city’s health district Facebook page.

For the past two years, everything has been COVID, all the time, but the number of positive cases is decreasing both statewide and countywide according to case counts on the website. from the Ohio Department of Health.

At Wednesday’s board of health meeting, Stainbrook reported that the city had 507 positive cases of COVID-19 in January, which was the highest number ever recorded by the health district. That’s actually a third of the total for all of 2021, which was 1,508 cases. The number of positive cases in 2020 was 720.

But she also reported that no vaccination appointments have been scheduled this week and that they are no longer doing contact tracing, with the exception of schools and congregate settings, such as nursing homes. . The Nursing Division recently gave booster shots at two assisted living facilities.

As part of the Vital Statistics report, additional information about deaths is being collected, including causes of death, age, whether male or female wife and a Salem resident or non-resident. Last month, there were 45 deaths, 14 of them from COVID-19. Of these 14, two lived in the city and 12 did not. She acknowledged that there may be more deaths of townspeople who may have died elsewhere. The numbers in the report relate strictly to what happened in the city.

In other matters, Stainbrook had two recent incidents that she informed the board of directors related to environmental health, including a dog bite incident that is still under investigation and will be included in the report they received next month.

She explained that a family in Salem adopted a dog from Stark County and the dog apparently bit two family members, which was reported to police. During the preliminary investigation, she said environmental health director Alan Masters learned the dog had bitten someone in Stark County and had never been quarantined for 10 days before. to be adopted. The two people bitten in Salem had to go to the hospital for treatment.

She said he also learned that the city’s humane worker was unavailable and the Columbiana County dog ​​sitter wouldn’t be coming, so the Columbiana County Humane Society was apparently contacted, got together. presented to the residence and requested custody of the dog, then had the dog euthanized without being quarantined.

“They don’t have the power to do that” Stainbrook said.

She explained that only the dog sitter and the health district have the authority to determine if a

vicious dog should be euthanized.

In the other case, she was contacted by a South Carolina woman regarding the condition of a house on Rose Avenue where the woman’s brother lived. The house was declared uninhabitable, but the brother hired a lawyer to try to get back into the house, which is now deeded to the brother and sister.

In a big announcement to the board, Stainbrook said the virtual site visit for accreditation is happening much earlier than planned, with the site visit scheduled for May 4, 5 and 6. A decision on whether the city’s health district will become accredited is expected. Later in the year.

The department has been working towards accreditation since 2018. ODH has set a deadline of December 31, 2025 for health departments to be accredited.

The board also spoke briefly about sharps disposal and agreed to contract with 21st Century Alarm for security.

Since the City Council on Tuesday approved an ordinance for the Health District to enforce Tobacco Rule 21 in Ohio, the Health District must now pass a resolution with three readings regarding the licensing of businesses selling tobacco products. tobacco.

“I’m looking for the application to start in July”, Stainbrook said.

The next Board of Health meeting will be March 16 at 2 p.m.

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