BROOKVILLE – Franklin County Health Department Board President Patsy Weileman, Brookville, asked staffers Jan. 21 at the quarterly meeting if persons with influenza had approached the department.
Supervisor Angie Ruther, R.N., answered no. “We rarely have sick people come in.” Most Indiana State Department of Health reports have been about deceased or hospitalized patients with the illness. “It’s all been elderly.”
There have been 45 influenza-associated deaths in Indiana so far during the 2019-20 season, according to the Jan. 31 ISDH weekly report. Ten of those deaths occurred in Marion County (Indianapolis area). Twenty-four of the dead, just over half, were 65 and up. Eleven were 25-49, nine were 50-64 and one was between 5-24.
Out of 10 ISDH districts, District 9, which includes Ripley and Franklin counties, had the third highest number of influenza-like illnesses reported in emergency departments and urgent cares during the most recent week.
Board members commented on the number of investigations nurse Mary Ellen King, R.N., conducted in the October-December quarter — seven for hepatitis C and five for hepatitis B. Ruther observed, “Most of them are 25 with a history of IV drug use.”
Attorney Gene Stewart, who advises FCHD, is amending a county ordinance about tattoos/body piercing to include microblading, a tattooing technique in which a small handheld tool made of several tiny needles is used to add semipermanent pigment to the skin. The current trend is to enhance eyebrows.
The supervisor pointed out, “It really is ink and cutting the skin. No salon in Franklin County is currently doing that, but we want to be ahead of the game.”
Meanwhile, on Oct. 28, 2019, Ruther inspected a new tattoo parlor, Crimson Ghost Studio, 12050 St. Mary’s Road, Suite C, Brookville.
In addition to conducting flu vaccine clinics at three sites (Laurel Library; Fairbrook Manor and St. Michael’s School, Brookville), the supervisor’s report revealed three more dated entries: Oct. 17, 2019, continuing education hours on vaccine preventable diseases, hepatitis A, terrorism and disaster, and overdose: pills and beyond; Nov. 14, 2019, meeting with ISDH field epidemiologist Chris Tarrand on disease investigations; and Dec. 10, 2019, lead case investigation.
Public health coordinator Faye Hay attended a District 9 conference last November at Belterra Casino Resort. She reported, “The Las Vegas shooter talk with just amazing. it was a tearjerker.” An EMT played 911 calls. “There were so many fatalities. They had to pool their resources and work together.”
Another very interesting speech was about a hospital that was flooded with 6 feet of water. “They had all kinds of problems with mold and drywall.”
The public health coordinator is taking online Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Federal Emergency Management Agency classes. “Those are all due to be completed by March 31.” A state-required Point of Dispensing (POD) exercise is slated for May. Both the classes and POD are requirements for the health department to continue to get grant funding.
However, Hay announced she is resigning effective March 31, noting, “It’s been an experience. I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ll have all the deliverables met so the new person can take over.” She recommended that the new coordinator take the same classes.
Another vacant Franklin County Health Department position already has been filled. After grant manager Linda Vaughan retired Dec. 31, 2019, Tiffany Britton was hired for that part-time role. “So far, so good,” she reported. Britton will continue filling in for secretary/registrar Mary Burk on a part-time basis.
Ruther pointed out, “We are short two (board) members” out of the optimal seven. A potential member observed the meeting, so at least one more is needed. Interested county residents who are able to attend quarterly meetings on Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. may contact the supervisor at 765-647-4322.