Salem health district planning spring health fair | News, Sports, Jobs

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

“We are now looking at outreach,” city Health Commissioner Alanna Stainbrook said.

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

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

During the health board meeting Wednesday, Stainbrook reported the city recorded 507 positive COVID-19 cases in January, which was the highest number the health district ever had. It’s actually one-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 no vaccine appointments had been scheduled this week and they’re no longer doing contact tracing, with the exception of the 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 regarding deaths is being gathered, including causes of death, ages, whether male or female and resident of Salem or non-resident. For last month, there were 45 deaths, with 14 from COVID-19. Out of those 14, two lived in the city and 12 did not. She acknowledged that there could be more deaths of city residents who may have died elsewhere. The numbers for the report deal strictly with what happened in the city.

In other business, Stainbrook had two recent incidents she advised the board about related to environmental health, including a dog bite incident that’s 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 members of the family, which was reported to the police. During the preliminary investigation, she said Environmental Health Director Alan Masters learned the dog had bitten someone in Stark County and was never put in a 10-day quarantine before being adopted out. Both people bitten in Salem had to go to the hospital for treatment.

She said he also learned that the city’s humane officer wasn’t available and the Columbiana County Dog Warden wouldn’t come, so the Columbiana County Humane Society was apparently contacted, showed up at the residence and demanded custody of the dog, then had the dog euthanized without being quarantined.

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

She explained that only the dog warden and the health district have the authority to determine if a vicious dog should be euthanized.

In the other matter, she was contacted by a woman from South Carolina regarding the condition of a home on Rose Avenue where the woman’s brother lived. The home has been declared uninhabitable, but the brother has hired an attorney in an attempt to get back in the house, which is now deeded to both the brother and the sister.

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

The department has been working toward accreditation since 2018. The ODH set a deadline of Dec. 31, 2025 for health departments to become accredited.

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

Since city council approved an ordinance Tuesday for the health district to enforce the Tobacco 21 rule in Ohio, the health district now has to pass a resolution with three readings regarding the licensing of businesses selling tobacco products.

“I look for enforcement to start in July,” Stainbrook said.

The next health board meeting will be 2 p.m. March 16.

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