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Ensuring the county’s health

By Staff | Apr 6, 2020

The Emmet County board of health met Tuesday afternoon virtually on Zoom to address a change in public health nurse home visits due to coronavirus. Nurses are working to make virtual visits on whichever platform the patients wish: Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts or if necessary by phone.

For the health department’s Healthy Beginnings program, addressing child health, public health nurse Kathy Preston said, “We’re still engaging with families.”

If a baby’s weight is a concern or there are other health concerns that cause a doctor to order an in-person visit, Preston said the health nurses will still enter a home, but they are assessing whether anyone in the home has any symptoms of illness, and if they do, will inform the doctor the home visit didn’t happen.

The health department was also asked to look at its budget to determine if its needs have changed due to COVID-19. The board passed a resolution allowing the health department to increase its office expense by $500, purchase $500 in additional supplies, add $6,300 in salaries, including $2,000 in nurses’ time and $4,300 in office manager’s time, $5,000 in computer equipment, $5,000 for vaccinations, and $125 for miscellaneous expenses.

Preston said local health and safety leaders meet each morning to assess the local situation in light of community spread of COVID-19.

As of Wednesday evening, there were no cases in Emmet County, one case each in Clay, Dickinson, and Kossuth counties, and Martin County, Minn., to the north has reported 23 cases and one death from COVID-19.