Andrew Grimm
DISCUSSION — The Jefferson County Board of Health held its month-to-month assembly Tuesday, discussing, amongst different subjects, COVID-19 vaccinations and steps that may be taken to make the county more healthy going ahead.



STEUBENVILLE — The Jefferson County Board of Health mentioned each methods to extend vaccinations and methods to extend the general well being of the county going ahead Tuesday morning throughout its common month-to-month assembly.

County Health Commissioner Andrew Henry stated the most recent data is that about 44 p.c of the county’s eligible residents are vaccinated towards COVID-19.

At final month’s conferences, that quantity was at 41 p.c, so the development of the vaccination price slowing has continued.

During his report back to the board, Henry learn a launch from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services coping with issues over vaccine misinformation on social media platforms.

“The advisory (from the surgeon general) encourages technology and social media companies to take more responsibility to stop the online spread of health misinformation,” the excerpt Henry learn said. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans have been exposed to a wide range of misinformation about masks, social distancing, treatments and vaccines.”

Among statistics within the data Henry cited was that some 67 p.c of the unvaccinated have heard a number of “myths” in regards to the vaccine and believed it to be true or at least questioned its accuracy, as of May.

“I thought it was important to share that information since I, myself, see a lot of misinformation on social media,” Henry stated.

During her report, county Nursing Director Hannah Piko stated the well being division held eight vaccine clinics at church buildings and two at fireplace homes within the final month, the Jefferson County Justice Center and Eastern Ohio Correctional Center additionally providing vaccines at First Friday on Fourth and the Greek Fest and clinics in Toronto.

“Interest in vaccinations has decreased dramatically, but with the help of our RADx staff we are doing our best to continue to educate our community on the importance and safety of being vaccinated,” she stated.

Board President Dr. Patrick Macedonia requested if the well being division ought to look at alternatives like concert events and different comparable occasions to extend vaccinations.

“What can we do differently?” he requested. “You’re doing a great job, I know the response has not been good … everybody is struggling with this.”

Piko stated a few the occasions the division supplied vaccines at solely had “one or two” folks obtain the jab, although she famous even that could be a constructive as a result of these are individuals who wouldn’t have in any other case scheduled to get it.

“I just don’t think we’ve had a good enough response with events like (concerts),” she stated. “People are not going there to get vaccinated; they probably don’t want to worry about feeling sick afterwards.”

“Everybody in the country is trying different things, and it doesn’t seem to be working,” Macedonia stated.

Henry did deliver up the potential for an incentive program with present playing cards being authorised by a state grant as a possible enhance to the numbers, whereas county Medical Director Dr. Mark Kissinger advised working with the colleges within the space on doing a program to present away units of tickets to issues like soccer video games or season passes for athletic occasions as an incentive.

Macedonia favored the concept and advised Henry talk about it at an upcoming assembly with the superintendents to debate suggestions for the upcoming college yr.

The subject of colleges additionally introduced up motion by the State Legislature, although a selected invoice was not cited.

Henry stated, “There is a lot of legislation in Ohio, and rightfully so in some points, that is out there that is going to really limit the ability of local health departments and the state health department from putting out certain health orders.”

“I would anticipate a lot of the recommendations are going to stop at that, merely a recommendation, unfortunately,” he stated.

“It worries me when you take health issues and mandates and put them in the hands of state legislators,” board member Terry Bell stated. “It becomes too damn political.”

Also mentioned was the brand new delta variant of the virus, which, Henry stated citing data from the state, accounts for about 15 p.c of circumstances in Ohio, although he stated the county doesn’t presently have the power to find out how most of the circumstances regionally are the variant.

“The delta variant has become the hot topic of COVID-19,” Henry stated. “Data regarding the delta variant in Jefferson County is limited at this time, nevertheless the delta variant is here in Ohio and it considered more transmissible than other strains.”

He stated there have been 15 new circumstances reported within the county within the final two weeks, as of Monday.

During his report, Kissinger stated different elements of the world are seeing a rise, and usually the U.S. has been a few month behind.

“We have not seen a significant uptick here,” he stated.

He stated the cycle all through the pandemic has been a “wave” of circumstances going up about each 4 months.

He stated the delta variant is extra transmissible however doesn’t appear to be extra lethal, and appears to be transmitting in youthful folks, although, he famous, that could be due to larger vaccination charges amongst older folks.

He additionally cited a current research that counsel the immunity from vaccines might final years, which means there wouldn’t be a necessity for a booster within the close to future.

It was famous the county’s vaccination charges are a lot better within the age teams over 50.

Kissinger, Piko, Henry and members of the board all mentioned one other subject — making the world more healthy.

Kissinger stated there’s a want for a supply of wholesome meals downtown, a subject that has been mentioned at a number of conferences previously, additionally stating wholesome meals are dearer as nicely.

“It would be helpful to try to get some more businesses downtown to address some of those needs,” he stated.

He additionally famous that air pollution, whereas not as dangerous because it was, remains to be a priority, and the county has issues with coronary heart illness, most cancers and drug points.

Kelly Wilson, director of finance and administration, stated she inquired a few more healthy communities grant by the state to assist present more healthy meals choices however was knowledgeable the county can’t apply till 2025.

A attainable program talked about by Piko was group gardens in varied areas within the county, which was mentioned as one thing that could possibly be carried out subsequent yr, together with data on the way to put together meals grown.

Carla Gampolo additionally introduced up a strolling program the division had previously that was profitable as one thing the division can look at to advertise higher well being.

Macedonia inspired Kissinger and Piko to place collectively an inventory of concepts for applications to advertise higher well being.

It was additionally talked about by Kissinger that town of Steubenville and the county may find a way work along with American Rescue Plan Act funds on one thing like train gear, and the well being division is exploring grants for comparable tasks.

Also noteworthy:

– Henry mentioned the ruling by a visiting decide final week to condemn Crossridge Landfill proprietor Joseph Scugoza to 200 days in jail and $5,000 in fines for being present in contempt of greater than a decade of court docket orders final week.

Henry stated “the environmental issues will remain,” noting that nothing within the ruling addressed these issues.

“The outcome itself did not provide aid to the site,” he stated.

He additionally recommended Gampolo, who took the stand within the listening to, saying she “did a fine job representing the health department.”

– The board authorised in idea an settlement for the nursing division to enter right into a contract with the county Department of Job and Family Services for a nurse to be on name.

It is a part of DJFS’s course of to get its kids’s dwelling accredited.

A contract will likely be drafted by the board’s authorized counsel and introduced again to the board for approval.

– The well being division is holding bike rodeos for youths from 1-4 p.m. Thursday at North End Park and July 29 at Jim Woods Park.

– A movement was made for the board to draft a letter to APEX Landfill to commend them for enhancements made which have lowered the variety of odor complaints. It was famous throughout the environmental report that there have been seven complaints in June and eight so far in July.

– Macedonia recommended Piko for serving on the Jefferson County Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

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