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Health Department set to resume services

LISBON – With many making their way back to work, opening their offices, stores, restaurants and campgrounds, there also have come many guidelines from the Columbiana County Health Department and the state.

The local health department is no different from any business reopening. Commissioner Wes Vins said. As they begin resuming more of their “normal” operations, the health department is creating policies for itself to follow to keep employees and those they provide services for safe.

During Wednesday’s online Zoom board meeting, Vins and the staff asked for the board to pass policies regarding the reopening of various services, including resuming the health clinic to provide services such as a pap and mammography clinic on June 2 and vaccinations on June 3. Additionally, the board were asked to pass policies regarding resuming inspections.

Medical services administrator Jamie Elenz said the patients will only be allowed in one at a time and will be entering and leaving through the nursing door. There will be disinfecting of all surfaces between patients and the paperwork will be completed in the car.

“The goal is to keep everybody safe, the patients and us too,” Elenz said.

Many of the policies the board passed regarding keeping everyone safe at the office and when they enter homes or businesses to do inspections.

Environmental director Lori Barnes said they are still working with businesses to maintain compliance with COVID-19 concerns and while there was a lot of hype in the Columbus area over the weekend regarding problems with bars reopening, in Columbiana County there were only two complaints. Businesses seem to be really trying to comply with spacing requirements and social gathering restrictions.

Mostly, she said, they are dealing with issues about the wearing of masks, but many businesses have been good about giving her good reasons why the mask is not being worn. Barnes said there is a lot of flexibility in the mask requirements and several reasons when employees do not have to wear them, including when they are working next to a hot grill.

She also has been talking to campgrounds about not having large gatherings when they open. Additionally, pools are getting ready to open next week, although with several regulations.

Board member Tom Haugh asked about the ongoing dispute with Treharne’s Training Center, an equestrian center the board had requested a restraining order against due them conducting barrel racing events against the state’s coronavirus orders. Barnes said possibly when non-contact sports are allowed, the barrel racing may fall under the guidelines. Additionally, horse racing without fans is scheduled to reopen on Friday, which is another way David Treharne indicated he participates with his horses.

Vins said he expects additional clarity from the Ohio Department of Health regarding the opening of businesses like Treharne’s. While they will need to maintain social distancing and not have any spectators, Vins said he hopes with guidance, the business will be able to reopen.

While real estate inspections and new construction inspections are not where they were a year ago, division coordinator Laura Fauss told the board realtors are telling her they are getting busy. Things are picking up with inspections, which she believes is good sign things economically are getting back on track.

Also during meeting the board:

— Appointed Debbie Ketchum as the interim COVID-19/public health emergency preparedness coordinator and reinstated Steven Wiesen to help with many of the inspections.

— The board learned the health department received $28,000 toward covering COVID-19 related expenses.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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