Lenawee County Investing in You

County News

Lenawee County. We believe it’s the greatest county in Michigan. That’s why we continue to invest in a wide range of county programs and services to make this the best place to live in Michigan. Investing in our communities. Investing in our citizens. Investing in You.

Sep 15

Lenawee County is Investing in Health by Preventing and Responding to Disease Outbreaks

Posted on September 15, 2017 at 11:29 AM by Jennifer Ambrose

When there is an outbreak of disease in a community, time is of the essence. Whether the outbreak is caused by a communicable disease that spreads from one person to another, or by impurities in the food or water supply, health officials must act quickly to protect citizens in the community. The Lenawee County Health Department plays a critical role in this process.

“We need to make sure we have our plans in place so we can get medicine out there really quickly,” explains Susie Dice, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator at the Lenawee County Health Department. “In some cases, we only have 24 to 48 hours to get medicine out to people in order to prevent them from getting ill.”

The Lenawee County Health Department’s emergency preparedness program focuses on ensuring that the county is prepared to respond to intentional or unintentional public health emergencies. The Health Department develops plans and conducts trainings to help its staff, government officials, local businesses, medical professionals and county residents prepare for bio-terrorism and communicable disease emergencies. In the event of an outbreak or other public health emergency, they are among the first to leap into action.

Emergency Preparedness in Action

Emergency preparedness is more than just planning and conducting disaster drills. In recent years, there have been two outbreaks that required intervention from the Health Department. “In 2009, we had an outbreak of the H1N1 flu and we were able to hire 23 people to help us out on a short-term basis,” explains Dice. “We only have a staff of 35 people, so we were able to almost double our staff in order to provide protective measures to the community.”

Another disease outbreak occurred in 2013 when hundreds of people reported gastrointestinal symptoms after attending a Tough Mudder event. “We were able to respond to a huge norovirus outbreak that sickened over 600 people that we know of,” says Dice. “So it’s really important to have these services available.”

Emergency preparedness services are funded through the state and federal government, but also require matching funds from the county.

Preventing Outbreaks through Inspections and Permits

In addition to responding to public health emergencies, the Health Department takes measures to prevent outbreaks from occurring in the first place. Many things that citizens take for granted, such as clean water and food safety, are under the direct influence of the Health Department. The Health Department protects citizens from foodborne illness through its inspection program. They perform periodic inspections of restaurants, schools, temporary food events, vending machines and mobile food service units to ensure that they are following health standards for food preparation. The Health Department also educates cooks and food handlers by offering certification classes.

The water supply is also monitored by the Health Department. They issue permits for construction of new and replacement wells serving single-family homes, as well as establishments such as schools, offices, restaurants and campgrounds. These permits are required prior to construction. Health Department staff evaluate well drilling sites to ensure that wells are constructed in areas free of known groundwater contamination. They also provide water sample bottles to test water supplies for bacterial or chemical contamination.

There are many other locations that require ongoing inspections to protect public health and safety, including swimming pools, campgrounds, day care facilities, and tattoo parlors. Because of these inspections by the Health Department, citizens can feel safe when they are visiting any of these locations within Lenawee County.

Investing in Health, Investing in You

By investing in services such as emergency preparedness and environmental health, Lenawee County demonstrates its commitment to the health and safety of its citizens.

“I totally believe in what we do at the Health Department. We provide really important services for the people of Lenawee County,” says Dice. “And our staff is great, our nurses are great. Everything they do is for the clients and for the community.”

For more information on how Lenawee County is Investing in Health, visit us online or call 888-448-1387.
Sep 15

Lenawee County is Investing in Health Through Preventive Screenings and Health Care Services

Posted on September 15, 2017 at 11:27 AM by Jennifer Ambrose

The Health Department promotes positive health behaviors among all citizens while seeking out particularly vulnerable population groups and individuals in need of health information and special services. “We take a lot of pride in the services that we provide, and we try to put a lot of thought into what each program needs to offer in order to provide the best outcome for our citizens,” says Martha Hall, Health Officer at the Lenawee County Health Department. “When people come to the Health Department, they are quite surprised at all of the services we provide to the community,” says Hall. “To say it is an eye-opener would be an understatement.”

Preventive Health Screening Programs

The Health Department also provides a number of preventive health screening programs for citizens of Lenawee County. One example is the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control and Navigation Program (BCCCNP). This program offers free breast and cervical cancer screenings and education for women ages 40 to 64 who are uninsured or underinsured.

Bobbi Roberts, a hairdresser who lives in Ottawa Lake, has been receiving these services from the Health Department for the past three years. Her physician referred her to the program. One of the things she likes most about the program is the friendly staff at the Health Department. “They make you feel like you are their next door neighbor,” says Bobbi. “And they take good care of you.”

Local Vaccination Program

Vaccinations are another important service offered by the Health Department. Infants, children, teens, and even adults need vaccines to prevent the spread of communicable diseases, such as chicken pox, measles and mumps.

Marie Wallich, a resident of Adrian, came to the Health Department to get updated on her vaccines. “I chose the Health Department in Adrian because it’s convenient to where I live,” says Marie, whose younger sister also received her vaccinations at the Health Department. “If this service had not been available, I likely would have had to drive to Ann Arbor as my primary care physician no longer provides vaccines.”

Additional Health Care Services

The Health Department also provides hearing and vision screenings, tuberculosis testing and control, sexually transmitted infections and HIV testing, and many other services. Some of these services are free of charge, while others are provided for a reasonable fee. Services are strictly confidential and no one is denied care due to their inability to pay for services.

Investing in Health Care. Investing in You.

Having worked at the Lenawee County Health Department for 22 years, Ms. Hall is deeply committed to the mission and values of the public health system. She also knows the positive impact it can have on a community. “There’s a lot of value in our services.”

To learn more about the services provided by the Health Department, please visit the Lenawee County Health Department Web page.
Sep 08

Lenawee County is Investing in Health Through Monitoring and Education

Posted on September 8, 2017 at 4:01 PM by Jennifer Ambrose

Even if you have never walked into the Lenawee County Health Department, chances are that you have benefited from their services in some way. The mission of the Health Department is to enable the citizens of Lenawee County to enjoy the best possible state of health, free from avoidable disease, disability and the threat of premature death.

“Public health is one of those things that operates in the background. We don’t always recognize public health services because they are just services that happen,” explains Martha Hall, Health Officer at the Lenawee County Health Department. “I think the really unfortunate thing is that when those services aren’t available, then it becomes very obvious what public health means to a community.”

Surveillance and Monitoring

One of the key functions of the Health Department is to investigate and follow up on any reported cases of a communicable disease to prevent a possible outbreak. They track statistics on many diseases, from the flu to the West Nile Virus. Schools, preschools and day care centers are required to report communicable diseases to the Health Department. Nurses from the Health Department study disease outbreaks, how diseases are spread, and how to prevent and treat them.

Lead poisoning is another major public health concern in the community. The Health Department monitors children with elevated blood lead levels and provides assistance to families to ensure their homes are free of lead.

Educating the Public

Educating the public is a critical component of the mission for the Health Department. “Prevention is critical and that is what the Health Department is about,” says Hall. “We are interested in preventing disease in the community and providing the services that are going to best allow that to happen.”

To that end, they offer a variety of educational materials on their website, including fact sheets on health topics such as bed bugs, head lice, Lyme disease and Zika. The fact sheets are available in English or Spanish. All of these materials are free of charge.

The Health Department is funded through state and federal grants, but it also uses tax revenue from Lenawee County to expand or enhance its services. “The services we provide are all geared towards prevention,” explains Martha. “We want to prevent chronic disease in our community and be able to give citizens the best quality of life.”

Investing in Health Care. Investing in You.

Please visit the Lenawee County Health Department Web page to learn more about the monitoring programs or to download educational materials provided by the Health Department.