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Garfield County low risk for Coronavirus


March 5, 2020

POMEROY–Health Director Martha Lanman gave an update on the County’s preparations for any cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) that could occur. She stated that Garfield County is considered to be at very low risk for the virus, but the State asks that we be prepared and alert for the possibility. The Health District has held extra staff meetings to discuss the protocols, and Garfield County Health District nurse Elizabeth Stringer, RN, is up-to-date on any needed training. If any members of the public have questions about the virus, they may call Stringer at the Health District Office.

Lanman announced that they will again sponsor the second annual health walk on May 21, 2020. It will be named the “Louise Munday Health Walk” in honor of local resident Louise Munday who has had a life-long involvement in the local medical community. The walk will begin at the Lybecker Field where participants can choose one of two paths; one a longer route for fast walkers or joggers and a shorter path for novice and slow participants. Both routes will finish at the where the Garfield County Hospital District will sponsor a barbecue dinner for the participants. Munday will be honored during a presentation at the barbeque.

Several resolutions were approved by the Health District Board members and the County Commissioners. Resolution 2020-02 increased the wages to County Health Officer Dr. Hauser and Resolution 2020-03 increased the wages to part-time Health District employee Jessica Nelson, after her initial six months of employment. Both wage advancements were part of the 2020 budget approved last meeting.

Resolution 2020-04 approved a contract with Asotin County for environmental health services, specifically for inspections of septic systems. Lanman explained that it is their only option at the present time, and that Asotin County’s rates are higher than what they used to pay Whitman County for the same services.

Resolution 2020-05 approved a contract with Shanda Wolf, former Health District employee, and currently Garfield County Deputy Assessor, for environmental health services as a food services specialist. The contract is for part-time services, limited to about 30 hours per year, including one to two hours per month for keeping her training current, at a rate of $32.75 per hour. Wolf completed training as a food service specialist while still employed with the Health District. Lanman stated that the cost of this contract with Wolf is less than what the health district was having to pay Walla Walla County, since the contract with Whitman County ended last fall. Lanman herself will be responsible for any new food service establishment inspections.

Lanman will be meeting with the hospital staff to collaborate on preventing and treating infectious diseases. They will use grant funds to teach classes at the Pomeroy School District and the Pomeroy Senior Center, to help educate the public. She will also be attending a conference in Portland in April, 2020, to help her finalize a grant application which will provide telehealth services in Garfield County. The Health District has also held classes at the elementary school about dental health, did blood pressure checks for the school staff February 14, 2020, as well as at the Senior Center, and will hold classes on nutrition with second graders every week in March, 2020.

Also, the SAIL exercise class will begin again at the Senior Center in March, each Friday from 10:30 to 11:40 a.m.

The next meeting of the Garfield County Health District will be held March 23, 2020, as part of the agenda for the Garfield County Commissioners meeting, in the Boardroom of the Garfield County Courthouse.



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