Demand for public health services continues to rise in Madison County.
The Madison County Health Department served 23 percent of the county’s total population in 2010, district medical director Dr. Claude Burnett told the county board of health at its regular quarterly meeting this month.
Burnett said there were 5,838 patients served, with the majority being immunizations for children and adults from age 5 and up, almost doubling from 2009.
These figures included a free flu vaccination clinic held in the schools in November. Burnett said there has been an increase in patients for all services, including family planning as well as for environmental services over the last few years.
For example, there are now 38 restaurants in the county, primarily in Danielsville, as well as public schools and other facilities that serve food, which are all inspected twice a year, and as needed, by environmental health specialist Cathy Kelley. Department of Agriculture officials perform inspections on grocery store and convenience store delis, not the county, Kelley said.
Burnett also explained a new state family planning campaign which requires health department staff to offer effective birth control to “every woman, every time” she visits a public health clinic.
Public health nurse manager Beth Heath told board members that the recent flu clinic at county schools was a success, with 34 percent of all students being vaccinated against the flu virus. Heath said Madison County was the only county in the 10-county district to hold the flu clinic. “We vaccinated over 1,600 students in one day,” Heath said.
The health department was closed Nov. 17 and school nurses assisted the health department team with the vaccinations. Heath told the board that the clinic was good practice for health department officials in the event of a pandemic, and a good partnership between the health department and the schools.
BOH member and interim superintendent Allen McCannon agreed.
“We are so appreciative of this and so are our parents,” he said, adding that he believed that the vaccinations were providing a pretty dramatic decrease in flu cases in the schools.
The board agreed to maintain the same slate of officers for 2011, with Keith Cowne staying on as chairman, Roger Gober as vice-chairman and Ravonda Minish as secretary.
The board also agreed to hold a hearing to receive input on recommendations and/or amendments to tattoo parlor rules and regulations one hour prior to its next regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, May 12. There are currently no known tattoo parlors in the county, officials said.