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Health board informed of growing number of COVID cases



City editor

The Wyandot County Board of Health was updated on the increased spread of COVID-19 in the area during its regular meeting Wednesday.

Director of Environmental Health Jeffrey Ritchey reported Wyandot County jumped up to No. 16 out of Ohio’s 88 counties in terms of rate of COVID transmission in the past two weeks.

Of the five recent hospitalizations for COVID-19, three were age 80 and over and the other two were between ages 60 and 79.

None of the hospitalizations have happened in younger people and they also have been more due to dehydration rather than respiratory issues.

Registrar Kelli Owens said two likely COVID deaths took place in Wyandot County in the past week, but the state has not officially confirmed them yet. She said the state does not always confirm COVID deaths and said she knew of nine that she would have determined as COVID deaths in the past two years that were not made official by the state.

Director of Nursing Anna Gibson said the bi-weekly COVID updates are being sent out by the health department, but the department is looking to update its language for vaccinated cases to clear confusion.

The board approved a meeting for Molly Owens on Aug. 25 to attend a Regional IPPW presentation in Columbus. 

Gibson reported Yajaira Ayala was recently hired as the Help Me Grow educator and will begin Aug. 22. Ayala also will perform interpretive services for the health department. Gibson said the department still is looking for a full time registered nurse.

Program updates included a partnership with the early intervention Help Me Grow to provide Battelle Evaluators for the program. Gibson said the department is scheduling car seat appointments at community events including Carey Fest, Family Fun Fest and the upcoming Wyandot County Fair. 

Recent education and training included having multiple vaccine representatives provide education to nursing department staff on new vaccines that are being added to the county’s offered immunizations. 

Ritchey reported the county’s plumbing contract for commercial plumbing inspections with Erie County is coming to an end in September. Ritchey said he’d prefer to work with neighboring counties rather than the state. He was given permission to reach out to Richland County, Hancock County or Delaware County as possible replacement contracts.

Ritchey also shared an update on the county’s water pollution control loan fund, which provides $150,000 annually to replace failing systems in the county. The board unanimously approved Danielle Schalk as the authorized agent for the water pollution control loan fund grant. 

Public Health Educator Callan Pugh reported the Wyandot Welly Facebook page has been updated and will represent the Wyandot County Health Alliance. She said she is seeking Health Alliance members from partner organizations to assist in management of the page. 

The next community outreach event is 6 p.m. Sept. 22, which will discuss car seat safety. The health department has been involved in the Carey farmer’s market, the Carey Business Expo and Friday Fun Fest for the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over kickoff event. 

WIC Director Krystina Auble reported the caseload has increased to 231 people and urgent maternal warning signs were discussed with four women. A special WIC farmer’s market will be held 1-3 p.m. Aug. 24 at Harrison Smith Park and Auble said she’d confirmed 90 WIC participants will attend the event to receive free fruits and vegetables. 

Kelli Owens reported the Accreditation Board will meet today to determine if the Wyandot County Health Department will be accredited or not. She said she expects to hear the decision the week of Aug. 22.

In the administrator’s report, Owens shared a tuition policy with the board, which would allow up to three health department employees at a time to work toward a degree in their field that would help the health department. 

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Tuition would be covered through a workforce development grant for staff development. Tuition would be covered as long as the employees stay in Wyandot County with the health department and the employees would have to pay back tuition if they leave. Owens said two employees currently are interested in the program and the policy had been reviewed by Wyandot County Prosecutor Doug Rowland. 

The board approved the tuition policy unanimously.

The board also reviewed a new Anthem Medicaid contract. Anthem is becoming a Medicaid HMO product in 2022 and Medicaid has announced a next generation expansion of its managed care plans. 

The board approved the Anthem Medicaid contract unanimously. 

The board then went into executive session to discuss employees. No action was taken. 


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