Board of Commissioners
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<br />HEALTH BOARD MINUTES - OCTOBER 16, 1997 <br /> <br />Page 2 <br /> <br />UPDATE - BOARD OF HEAL TH BYLAWS DEVELOPMENT: David Specter reported that the <br />subcommittee assigned to work on the bylaws met last Thursday, October 9, 1997. David Specter, Dr. Locke <br />and the subcommittee developed a draft set of bylaws using sample bylaws from other Health <br />Departments/Jurisdictions within the State. The bylaws will be submitted to the Prosecuting Attorney for <br />review and then to the Board of Health for adoption at the next meeting. <br /> <br />NEW BUSINESS <br /> <br />BOARD OF HEALTH ORIENTATION: Items 3, 4 and 6 of the "Essential Responsibilities of <br />Public Health" were discussed as follows: <br /> <br />Enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety. Dr. Locke stated that this is a <br />major statutory obligation of the Board of Health. Failure to enforce State codes may result in the <br />dismissal of the Health Officer and the Board of Health members being charged with a misdemeanor <br />criminal offense punishable by a fine. Most of the statutory obligation falls under environmental <br />health, although communicable disease control falls under public health. <br /> <br />Environmental Health Specialist Gwen Howard reported on the food program. She stated that <br />providing education on the laws and regulations is the key to protecting public health and safety. <br />Copies of the laws and regulations are given to the public to make them aware of the requirements <br />they must follow. Enforcement may be necessary in some situations, but it is a long process. If the <br />public is not educated on why the regulations exist, then enforcement does not do much good. She <br />reported that the Health Department has issued approximately 300 food service permits. The E-Coli <br />outbreak in 1993 showed the general public why it is necessary that Health Department's enforce <br />public health safety regulations. The Health Department is required to inspect food service <br />establishments at least once a year, however, some food service establishments are inspected 8 to 10 <br />times a year, as they are in violation of food services regulations and need more education than others. <br />If there is no improvement after several inspections, the food service establishment must pay a fee for <br />reinspection. She noted that money and education work well to bring about compliance. <br /> <br />Ms. Howard stated that food service establishments are not always the cause of foodborne illnesses. <br />She reported on an incident which occurred this past summer where several individuals had reportedly <br />eaten raw oysters in Jefferson County and became sick with diahrea and severe stomach cramping. <br />While the Health Department does not recommend eating raw oysters, it was never believed that it <br />needed to be advertised. This was the first year that the Health Department had experienced this type <br />of outbreak and after talking with Dave Christensen who manages the shellfish program, it was agreed <br />that the Health Department should publish a press release on the matter. There were only a few more <br />calls received after the press release. Gwen Howard believes that the public educated themselves by <br />word-of-mouth and reading literature. <br /> <br />Member Buhler asked if there is some type of communication mechanism between agencies to share <br />this type of information? Gwen Howard replied that she contacted the State in order to share the <br />information and was told that the individual in charge of press releases was out of town. Larry Fay <br />added that a large number of these types of cases are reported to the State every year. According to <br />State standards, the number of reported incidents may not have been alarming, however, the majority <br />of the cases reported originated in Jefferson County. This concerned the Health Department since <br />Jefferson County has the highest recreational shellfish activity in the State. <br />
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