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Salem health board members to try again for quorum

SALEM — City Health Board members will meet at 2 p.m. Wednesday to handle monthly business after failing to have enough members for quorum last week.

With no quorum, no action could be taken, but Mayor John Berlin, who serves as chairman by virtue of his position, did say he received a letter of resignation from health board member Karen Crouse.

The board wasn’t able to accept the resignation at that time, but the mayor said anyone interested in the position can contact the mayor’s office to submit a letter of interest. The mayor makes the appointment. Crouse said she enjoyed her time on the board and was happy to serve the residents.

City Health Commissioner Alanna Stainbrook shared some numbers from department reports, including that there were 206 positive cases of COVID-19 in the Salem health district in September, along with three deaths. That brought the death toll from COVID-19 for the year to four, with one reported in August and then the three in September, with several more expected this month.

“We should be at peak right now,” she said.

In September, Stainbrook said the department handled 701 calls related to COVID-19, with 206 case investigations, 485 for contact tracing and 216 for contact tracing for the schools.

The department still has vaccine available and recently did a clinic at Fresh Mark and received inquiries from two other businesses, one outside of Salem and one inside.

Nursing Director Kristin Toy also talked about immunizations for Hepatitis A, saying they’re trying to educate the public about getting the vaccine, noting it’s now included with childhood immunizations.

Under environmental health, Stainbrook talked about an issue with rodents in the State Street block between South Broadway and Ellsworth Avenue. She also talked about issues with vacant structures, noting there are 425 vacant structures in the city of Salem and 2,250 rental units.

mgreier@salemnews.net

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