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Department of Health Newsroom 2014

December 18, 2014: Release of the 2014 St. Louis County Community Health Improvement Plan
December 15, 2014: County Health Department to Offer Free Flu Vaccinations
December 8, 2014: County Health Department to Offer Free Flu Vaccinations
December 4, 2014: County Health Department to Offer Free Flu Vaccinations
December 2, 2014: County Health Department Strongly Advises Everyone Be Vaccinated Against Seasonal Flu
September 29, 2014: County Health Department Unveils New Website for Pollen and Mold Information
September 25, 2014: County Health Department Calls for Further Study of Health Problems in North County
September 22, 2014: County Health Department Urges All Residents to Get Vaccinated against the Seasonal Flu
September 8, 2014: Saint Louis County Reports First Probable Human West Nile Virus Case of 2014
July 29, 2014: First Case of Chikungunya Reported in Saint Louis County
July 1, 2014: John C. Murphy Health Center Now Offering Walk-In School Physicals and Immunizations
June 30, 2014: County Health Department Urges Caution during Hot Weather
June 5, 2014: County Health Department Urges Precautions to Stop the Spread of Shigella
May 14, 2014: Two Rabid Bats Found in St. Louis County
April 30, 2014: Saint Louis County’s Animal Care and Control Program Is One of the Best in the Region
April 9, 2014: Community Celebration Health and Resource Fair
April 7, 2014: Emergencies Happen - Don’t Panic – Be Prepared
February 26, 2014: County Health Department’s Main Offices in Berkeley Reopen Following Repairs
February 18, 2014: Public Health Services to Remain Temporarily Relocated for a Second Week Following Water Line Break at Saint Louis County Department of Health
February 10, 2014: Services Temporarily Relocated Following Water Line Break at Saint Louis County Department of Health
February 9, 2014: Water Line Breaks at Saint Louis County Department of Health
February 3, 2014: Saint Louis County Department of Health Going for “Gold”
January 14, 2014: Significant Rise in Number of Severe Flu Cases
January 9, 2014: Significant Rise in Number of Severe Flu Cases
January 2, 2014: County Health Department Strongly Advises Everyone Be Vaccinated Against Seasonal Flu


Release of the 2014 St. Louis County Community Health Improvement Plan

(December 18, 2014) –The Saint Louis County Department of Health, in conjunction with the St. Louis County Partnership for a Healthy Community, is pleased to announce the public unveiling of the 2014 St. Louis County Community Health Improvement Plan (or “CHIP”).

“The department has been working diligently for two years with the St. Louis County Partnership for a Healthy Community and its partners to identify the most pressing public health needs in the county and develop a response plan for those needs,” said Dr. Dolores J. Gunn, director of the Saint Louis County Department of Health. “I am quite excited to see the fruition of those efforts embodied in this document – a document that can now serve as a roadmap for future public health efforts in the county and the region.”

The 2014 St. Louis County CHIP identifies four (4) priority areas on which it recommends the community should focus its public health efforts. These four priority areas are:

  • Access to Health Care – with an emphasis on health equity and improving access to health care.
  • Behavioral Health – with an emphasis on improving access to behavioral health services and reducing the stigma associated with behavioral health.
  • Healthy and Safe Environments – with an emphasis on asthma and asthma-related services.
  • Prevention and Disease Management – with two emphases: one on combatting and preventing obesity; and one on reducing the number of sexually-transmitted infections in the community.
  • Added Dr. Gunn, “This is designed to be a broad, strategic framework for future community health initiatives – a vision for the county that can be used to leverage resources and engage partners. This is only the beginning.”

    Helping to propel the activities in each of the four (4) priority areas are “Action Teams” that include representatives from many area organizations – some governmental, some for-profit, and some not-for-profit. These Action Teams will meet regularly to provide oversight, encourage additional collaboration, and manage the initiatives associated with each of the four (4) respective priority areas.

    Both the Saint Louis County Department of Health and the St. Louis Partnership for a Healthy Community encourage residents and partners to review the priorities and goals in the CHIP and provide input going forward. The CHIP is a “living” document that can and will be modified and updated as conditions, resources, and external factors change.

    For more information about the CHIP, the process, and the various reports that were used to help create the CHIP, please visit:

    www.stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness/HealthEducationandInformation/CommunityHealthAssessment



    County Health Department Offering Free Flu Vaccinations

    (December 15, 2014) – The Saint Louis County Department of Health is offering free flu vaccinations on Tuesday, December 16, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Local Union Hall #110 located at 4532 South Lindbergh Blvd. in Sunset Hills (63127).

    There has already been a high number of flu cases reported this season – especially among children, teenagers, and young adults. The department – in conjunction with BJC HealthCare, Mercy, and SSM Health Care – is urging all individuals six months of age and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

    “The best protection against the flu is vaccination,” said Dr. Dolores J. Gunn, director of the department. “Getting vaccinated isn’t just about protecting yourself. It’s also about protecting others. If you don’t catch the flu, then you can’t spread the flu.”

    If you think you have the flu, the department recommends that you contact your health care provider for possible treatment – especially if you have a fever of 100° F or higher. Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches, chills, and tiredness or fatigue.

    Residents needing a flu vaccination who are unable to visit the free vaccination clinic can visit the Saint Louis County Department of Health’s flu website to find other locations offering vaccine:

    www.SaintLouisCountyFlu.com

    The free flu vaccination clinic offered by the Saint Louis County Department of Health in December are also being supported and encouraged by the partners below:




    County Health Department Offering Free Flu Vaccinations

    (December 8, 2014) – The Saint Louis County Department of Health is offering free flu vaccinations on Tuesday, December 9th from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the John C. Murphy Health Center in Berkeley.

    There has already been a high number of flu cases reported this season – especially among children, teenagers, and young adults. The Saint Louis County Department of Health – in conjunction with BJC HealthCare, Mercy, and SSM Health Care – urges all individuals six months of age and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

    “The best protection against the flu is vaccination,” said Dr. Dolores J. Gunn, director of the department. “Getting vaccinated isn’t just about protecting yourself. It’s also about protecting others. If you don’t catch the flu, then you can’t spread the flu.”

    A second flu vaccination clinic will be held on Tuesday, December 16th in Sunset Hills. The dates, times, and locations for the two free flu vaccination clinics are:

    North County

    John C. Murphy Health Center
    6121 North Hanley Road in Berkeley (63134)
    Tuesday, December 9, 2014
    11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    South County

    Local Union Hall #110
    4532 S. Lindbergh Blvd., in Sunset Hills (63127)
    Located immediately north of the South County Health Center
    Tuesday, December 16, 2014
    11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    If you think you have the flu, the department recommends that you contact your health care provider for possible treatment – especially if you have a fever of 100° F or higher. Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches, chills, and tiredness or fatigue.

    Residents still needing a flu vaccination who are unable to visit one of the free vaccination clinics this month can visit the Saint Louis County Department of Health’s flu website to find other locations offering vaccine:

    www.SaintLouisCountyFlu.com

    The two free flu vaccination clinics being offered by the Saint Louis County Department of Health are also being supported and encouraged by the partners below:




    County Health Department to Offer Free Flu Vaccinations
    Sharp Increase in Number of Children, Teens with Severe Flu Symptoms

    (December 4, 2014) – The Saint Louis County Department of Health is offering free flu vaccinations on December 9 and December 16 in response to a sharp increase in the number of flu cases in the area.

    There has been a high number of flu cases reported already this flu season – especially among children and teenagers. The Saint Louis County Department of Health is therefore once again urging all individuals six months of age and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

    “The best protection against the flu is vaccination,” said Dr. Dolores J. Gunn, director of the Saint Louis County Department of Health. “Getting vaccinated isn’t just about protecting yourself. It’s also about protecting others. If you don’t catch the flu, then you can’t spread the flu.”

    The dates, times, and locations for the two free flu vaccination clinics are:

    North County

    John C. Murphy Health Center
    6121 North Hanley Road in Berkeley (63134)
    Tuesday, December 9, 2014
    11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    South County

    Local Union Hall #110
    4532 S. Lindbergh Blvd., in Sunset Hills (63127)
    Located immediately north of the South County Health Center
    Tuesday, December 16, 2014
    11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    If you think you may have the flu, the department recommends that you contact your health care provider for possible treatment – especially if you have a fever of 100° F or higher. Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches, chills, tiredness or fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

    Residents still needing a seasonal flu vaccination who are unable to visit one of the free vaccination clinics this month can visit the Saint Louis County Department of Health’s flu website to find other locations offering vaccine:

    www.SaintLouisCountyFlu.com



    County Health Department Strongly Advises Everyone Be Vaccinated Against Seasonal Flu

    (December 2, 2014) – The Saint Louis County Department of Health is strongly advising that all residents be vaccinated against the seasonal flu. The flu has arrived earlier in the St. Louis area this year; the number of cases has more than tripled over the last two weeks.

    “We have seen significantly more cases – with half of the cases among children and teenagers – and this concerns us because this is a vaccine-preventable disease,” said Dr. Dolores J. Gunn, director of the department.

    Added Dr. Gunn, “Getting vaccinated isn’t just about protecting yourself – it’s also about protecting others. If you don’t catch the flu, then you can’t spread it to those who are more vulnerable like infants, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems.”

    Residents needing a seasonal flu vaccine can visit the Saint Louis County Department of Health’s flu website to find out where they can go to be vaccinated:

    www.SaintLouisCountyFlu.com

    Each flu season, between 15 million to 60 million Americans are infected by seasonal flu, depending on the severity of the outbreak. Over 200,000 people are hospitalized every year due to flu-related complications and around 36,000 of them die.

    There is currently no shortage of flu vaccine or antiviral medication in the St. Louis area; however, the department will continue to monitor the availability of vaccine and antiviral medications in collaboration with health care providers.

    Other standard precautions being urged by the county health department are:

  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or into your sleeve – not into your hands.
  • Wash your hands often, especially after using the restroom, after coughing or sneezing, or before preparing food.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth as much as possible (this is how the flu virus spreads).
  • Keep a supply of flu-related foods and medicines in your home to avoid having to shop after you get sick.
  • Maintain a distance of three feet between you and others, especially if you think you are sick.
  • If you or your child does get sick, stay at home until fully recovered.
  • Talk to medical providers by phone to avoid in-person contact.


  • County Health Department Unveils New Website for Pollen and Mold Information


    (September 29, 2014) – The Saint Louis County Department of Health has revamped its Pollen and Mold Center website to include additional information and to make the most important information easier to find. The updated website can be found at:


    www.stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness/EnvironmentalServices/PollenandMoldCenter


    “Our Pollen and Mold Center website is one of our most popular pages,” said Dr. Dolores J. Gunn, director of the health department. “For those who suffer from asthma or allergies, the information on this page is invaluable and we want to make sure the right information is available to all those who need it in a timely fashion.”


    Pollen counts on the revamped site are now shown with their National Allergy Bureau (NAB) Risk Level:


  • Absent - No symptoms.
  • Low - Only individuals extremely sensitive to this pollen.
  • Moderate - Many individuals sensitive to this pollen.
  • High - Most individuals with any sensitivity to this pollen.
  • Very High - Almost all individuals with any sensitivity to this pollen. Extremely sensitive people could have severe symptoms.

  • All the reports on the page are updated every business day by 11:00 a.m. In addition, there is a daily recording of the information made for those who don’t have internet access. That recording can be reached by dialing 314-615-6825.


    The department’s Pollen and Mold Center website provides the Air Quality Forecast during the region’s annual ozone season (April – October). In addition, visitors can view all the detailed numbers for each type of pollen by clicking on the “Full Daily Report” link. Also included on the site is a 60-day summary.


    Public feedback is welcome. There is a “Contact Us” link at the top of the page that allows people to send in their comments about the site.




    County Health Department Calls for Further Study of Health Problems in North County


    (September 25, 2014) – The Saint Louis County Department of Health is calling for more study of health problems in and around Coldwater Creek – not just cancer rates, but the entire range of health problems that can be associated with exposure to radiation.


    “People have a right to know if the environment they live in is safe for them and their families,” said Dr. Dolores J. Gunn, director of the Saint Louis County Department of Health. “The report released Tuesday by the state health department raises additional questions that need to be answered.”


    On Tuesday, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) released a report that found statistically-significant elevated rates of leukemia among adults and brain cancer among children, all diagnosed from 1996-2011. Elevated rates were also found for breast, colon, prostate, kidney, and bladder cancer. However, the report found statistically-significant lower rates of thyroid cancer.


    “We need to go beyond the years 1996 to 2011 and beyond just cancer rates to develop a more complete picture of what the people in and around Coldwater Creek are dealing with,” said Dr. Gunn. “We also need to determine if people are still being exposed to any environmental dangers,” she added.


    Earlier this year, the county health department put together a team of epidemiologists to conduct chronic disease surveillance throughout the county. In addition to tracking obesity rates, heart disease rates, and other indicators of chronic disease, the team will focus on the situation in and around Coldwater Creek to assess what measurable effects can be identified that might be linked to radiation exposure.


    The county’s new chronic disease surveillance team also anticipates working closely with the many different agencies and organizations that can play a role in this effort, including the local organization that helped bring attention to this issue – the “Just the Facts” citizens group – as well as academic institutions like Washington University and Saint Louis University, DHSS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).


    The report issued by DHSS on Tuesday can be viewed at:


    http://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/chronic/cancerinquiry/pdf/ccanalysisSept2014.pdf




    Emergencies Happen - Don’t Panic – Be Prepared
    A Regional Press Release


    (April 7, 2014) – Are you and your family prepared for a man-made or natural emergency? How about your neighborhood, community, business, or place of employment? Studies show that approximately 37 percent of Americans are not preparing for disasters because they believe the government or other responders will be available to help them. This year, during National Public Health Week celebrations in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area, local public health officials are asking residents and businesses to do their part by preparing for public health emergencies now, before they occur.


    “Preparing for, responding to, and recovering from public health emergencies are ongoing concerns for public health officials,” said Pamela Rice Walker, director of Health for the City of St. Louis Department of Health. “But everyone has a responsibility to prepare and everyone has a role in preparing.”


    “The type of emergency, the size of the area affected, communications and power outages, and even road conditions can hamper emergency response efforts or require that resources be initially deployed elsewhere,” said Dolores J. Gunn, MD, director of the Saint Louis County Department of Health. “Because of these realities, residents must be ready to care for their own immediate needs until help arrives. We recommend that everyone be able to be selfsufficient for at least three days. That may include taking care of your own shelter, food, water, and first aid.”


    Local public health officials in the St. Louis metropolitan area encourage citizens to follow three basic steps to prepare for emergencies: create a plan, prepare an emergency supply kit, and listen for information once the emergency happens.


    “We know that fear and anxiety can be reduced if we prepare. Also, preparing can reduce loss or even avoid certain impacts entirely,” said Elizabeth Patton-Whiteside, Public Health Administrator Eastside Health District.


    “Creating a plan that includes emergency contact information and what to do if you have to evacuate or stay in one place can save time and prevent stress,” said Kevin Hutchison Executive Director St. Clair County Health Department.


    “An emergency supply kit will be needed to help you sustain yourself until help arrives,” said Toni Corona, Public Health Administrator of Madison County, Illinois Health Department. “Stock your kit with at least one gallon of water per person for three days, canned and dried foods, a list of prescription drugs, first aid items, and a crank or battery-powered radio.”


    During an emergency, city, county, and state officials will be issuing information on what to do and where to go. “It’s important to not panic when an emergency happens. Staying calm will allow you to take in as much information about the situation as possible, assess matters, and make better decisions to protect your family,” said Julie Eckstein, director for St. Charles County’s Department of Community Health and the Environment.


    Local public health departments in the greater St. Louis metropolitan region are working together to address public health concerns that cross jurisdictional boundaries. Contact your health department for additional information about National Public Health Week or about preparing for public health emergencies.


    To view a printable copy of the press release click on the link below:


    Emergency Preparedness during National Public Health Week 2014



    County Health Department’s Main Offices in Berkeley Reopen Following Repairs
    Full Array of Public Health Services Once Again Offered at Health Campus


    (February 26, 2014) – The Saint Louis County Department of Health’s main facility has reopened following repairs there following a water line break on February 8th. All public health services are once again being offered at the Health Campus, located at 6121 North Hanley Road in Berkeley.


    “I’m quite happy to report that our Health Campus is back open!” said Dr. Dolores J. Gunn, director of the department. “Thanks to Clayco and the County Department of Public Works, the facility was restored to its original condition in less than three weeks. Nevertheless, we certainly apologize to our constituents for the inconvenience this disruption may have caused.”


    On Saturday, February 8th, a water line on the second floor of the facility broke, filling portions of the building with water that damaged certain offices. The location was closed immediately to both the public and non-essential staff to allow for repair work.


    To minimize the inconvenience this might have caused the public, all the services normally offered at the location were transferred to other sites by Tuesday morning (February 11th), including the Office of Vital Records, dental and health services, W.I.C. services, and environmental notification services. All those services have now been returned to the Berkeley location.


    For a complete list of the services offered by the Saint Louis County Department of Health and locations where those services are offered, please visit:


    www.stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness



    Public Health Services to Remain Temporarily Relocated for a Second Week Following Water Line Break at Saint Louis County Department of Health


    (February 18, 2014) – Public health services normally offered at the Saint Louis County Department of Health’s main facility in Berkeley will continue to be temporarily offered at alternate locations this week because of repair work being done there following a water line break on Saturday, February 8th.


    “I’m happy to report that the repair work is well underway at our Health Campus,” said Dr. Dolores J. Gunn, director of the department, “but it isn’t finished yet, so we’re going to continue providing our services at alternate locations for the time being. We hope to have a better idea later this week of when our Health Campus will be able to reopen.”


    All vital record services (birth and death certificates), dental services, medical services, and W.I.C. services normally provided at the facility in Berkeley have been temporarily relocated to the North Central Community Health Center at 4000 Jennings Station Road in Pine Lawn. All patients with appointments are being contacted by department staff about the location change.


    In addition to the North Central Community Health Center, those needing W.I.C. services can also use one of the department’s three other W.I.C. sites:


    Mayfair Plaza - W.I.C. Office

    244 Mayfair Plaza Shopping Center

    Florissant, MO 63033

     

    North County Government Office

    21 Village Square Shopping Center

    Hazelwood, MO 63042

     

    South County Health Center

    4580 S. Lindbergh Blvd.

    Sunset Hills, MO 63127


    Restaurants and other businesses needing plan/review services are being asked to visit one of the county’s three satellite offices until repairs are complete:


    NORTH COUNTY

    21 Village Square Shopping Center

    Hazelwood, MO 63042

     

    SOUTH COUNTY

    4546 Lemay Ferry Rd.

    Keller Plaza

    St. Louis, MO 63129

     

    WEST COUNTY

    74 Clarkson Wilson Center

    Chesterfield, MO 63017


    Businesses needing to submit asbestos notifications or demolition release authorizations are being asked to visit one of the following two county satellite offices:


    SOUTH COUNTY

    4546 Lemay Ferry Rd.

    Keller Plaza

    St. Louis, MO 63129

     

    WEST COUNTY

    74 Clarkson Wilson Center

    Chesterfield, MO 63017


    As additional information becomes available, the department will continue to provide updates. Residents needing more information about the water line break and its effect on services can call the department at (314) 615-0600 or visit:


    www.stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness/WaterLineBreak



    Services Temporarily Relocated Following Water Line Break at Saint Louis County Department of Health


    (February 10, 2014) – A water line at the Saint Louis County Department of Health’s main building in Berkeley broke on Saturday causing damage to part of the building. While the extent of damage is assessed and repairs made, the building will be closed to the public. All major services have been temporarily relocated to other facilities.


    “Despite the inconvenience of having our main facility down for repairs, the Saint Louis County Department of Health is determined to continue providing the excellent public health services that county residents expect,” said Dr. Dolores J. Gunn, director of the department.


    All dental, medical, and W.I.C. services provided at the Health Campus have already been relocated to the North Central Community Health Center at 4000 Jennings Station Road in Pine Lawn, a facility also operated by the department. Patients with appointments this week are being contacted by department staff about the change.


    In addition to the North Central Community Health Center, those needing W.I.C. services can also use one of the department’s three other W.I.C. sites:


    Mayfair Plaza - W.I.C. Office

    244 Mayfair Plaza Shopping Center

    Florissant, MO 63033

     

    North County Government Office

    21 Village Square Shopping Center

    Hazelwood, MO 63042

     

    South County Health Center

    4580 S. Lindbergh Blvd.

    Sunset Hills, MO 63127


    The Office of Vital Records, which provides birth and death certificates to the general public, is also being relocated to the North Central Community Health Center; however the new temporary location will not be operational until Tuesday morning. Residents needing birth or death certificates can still order them online by visiting https://ww5.stlouisco.com/doh/vitals/vitalrecords/default.aspx or by phone by calling 1-866-225-2072.


    Restaurants and other facilities needing plan/review services are being asked to visit one of the county’s three satellite offices this week:


    NORTH COUNTY

    21 Village Square Shopping Center

    Hazelwood, MO 63042

     

    SOUTH COUNTY

    4546 Lemay Ferry Rd.

    Keller Plaza

    St. Louis, MO 63129

     

    WEST COUNTY

    74 Clarkson Wilson Center

    Chesterfield, MO 63017


    Businesses needing to submit asbestos notifications or demolition release authorizations are being asked to visit one of the following two county satellite offices:


    SOUTH COUNTY

    4546 Lemay Ferry Rd.

    Keller Plaza

    St. Louis, MO 63129

     

    WEST COUNTY

    74 Clarkson Wilson Center

    Chesterfield, MO 63017


    As additional information becomes available, the department will continue to provide updates. Residents needing more information about the water line break and its effect on services can call the department at (314) 615-0600 or visit


    www.stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness/WaterLineBreak



    Water Line Breaks at Saint Louis County Department of Health
    Services Being Temporarily Relocated While Repairs Are Made


    (February 9, 2014) – A water line at the Saint Louis County Department of Health’s main building in Berkeley broke on Saturday causing damage to part of the building. While damage is assessed and repairs are made, the building will be closed to the public. All its major services are being temporarily relocated to other facilities.


    “One of the fire sprinkler pipes burst sometime on Saturday spraying a substantial amount of water into parts of the building,” said Dr. Gunn, director of the department. “We are still assessing the situation to determine the extent of the damage, why the pipe failed, and how long it will take to make repairs.”


    Most services are being immediately relocated to the North Central Community Health Center, which is also operated by the department. The facility is located at 4000 Jennings Station Road in Pine Lawn. Services being relocated there include all dental and medical services, medical records, and W.I.C. services. Patients with appointments scheduled this week are being contacted today and tomorrow by department staff.


    The Office of Vital Records, which provides birth and death certificates to the general public, is also being relocated to the North Central Community Health Center; however the new temporary location will not be operational until Tuesday morning. Residents needing birth or death certificates can still order them online by visiting https://ww5.stlouisco.com/doh/vitals/vitalrecords/default.aspx or by phone by calling 1-866-225-2072. Residents needing a birth or death certificate on Monday are encouraged to visit the Offices of Vital Records in St. Louis City or in St. Charles.


    Restaurants and other facilities needing plan/review services are being asked to visit one of the county’s three satellite offices this week:


    NORTH COUNTY

    21 Village Square Shopping Center

    Hazelwood, MO 63042

     

    SOUTH COUNTY

    4546 Lemay Ferry Rd.

    Keller Plaza

    St. Louis, MO 63129

     

    WEST COUNTY

    74 Clarkson Wilson Center

    Chesterfield, MO 63017



    Saint Louis County Department of Health Going for “Gold”
    Accreditation by National Board Would Be a First for Region


    (February 3, 2014) – While U.S. athletes prepare to go for gold in Sochi at the Winter Olympics, the Saint Louis County Department of Health has been prepping for their own gold medal – national accreditation.


    The Saint Louis County Department of Health currently holds statewide accreditation, having received and maintained 100 percent comprehensive accreditation for more than five years. The statewide honor was the highest achievable until recently. The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), the national accrediting organization for public health departments, is now offering national certification and Dr. Dolores J. Gunn, health department director, said her team is ready to compete.


    “We are excited about this opportunity and we’ve been meeting with our community partners, elected officials, and community leaders for more than a year to get ready for this,” Gunn said. The county health department would be the first nationally accredited public health department in the eastern Missouri region according to Gunn.


    The PHAB accreditation process consists of seven steps: (1) Pre-application; (2) Application; (3) Documentation Selection and Submission; (4) Site Visit; (5) Accreditation Decision; (6) Reports; and (7) Reaccreditation.


    One of the most important steps is the development of a comprehensive strategic plan. Dr. Gunn and her team developed five strategic priorities in January. Those priorities center around communication to enhance access to healthcare and improved health literacy, a Community Health Improvement Plan to address chronic disease, public health workforce development, performance management and data management systems to monitor progress and communicate results, and age-friendly programs and services to meet population needs.


    “We took feedback from a lot of different areas including elected officials, the hospital systems, regional health agencies, and local non-profits,” Gunn said. Three major reports also shaped the plan: a Community Themes and Strengths Assessment, a Local Public Health Systems Assessment, and a Forces of Change Assessment.


    The execution of the strategic priorities requires the realignment of existing staff and the addition of three epidemiologists. These steps put the department in excellent position to achieve national accreditation according to Gunn.


    Three health department employees will have begin new assignments this week as part of the realignment.


    Jade James, M.D. M.P.H., an Obstetrician and Director of Research and Medical Services, will also become the Deputy Director of Health for the Saint Louis County Department of Health. Dr. James will assist the director in the overall implementation of the strategic plan for the DOH. She will also assist with the implementation and execution of the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) which includes monitoring chronic disease across populations. Dr. James is a highly respected physician in the community. She is compassionate and dedicated. In addition, to receiving her degree of medicine from Meharry Medical College, she received her Master’s in Public Health and Health Policy from Saint Louis University.


    Velda Jamison has also accepted the additional responsibilities to ensure current health data systems among the county department of health, the state health department, and local health partners are able to collect and report specific public health data. She will also manage fleet and facility services to meet demand. For over 30 years Ms. Jamison has proven to be an exemplary employee and leads by example. She has made significant contributions to the department as Health Information Program Manager for the past three years. She attended St. Louis Community College and is a certified IT Network Administrator and Implementation Manager.


    Desiree Whitlock, a community health educator and leader, will become Special Assistant to the Director. Her new responsibilities will include education and outreach to the St. Louis County Council, municipalities, and local elected officials relating to public health issues in their communities. She will also staff special projects as needed. Ms. Whitlock is a graduate of Fisk University and received her Master’s in Health Administration from Lindenwood University.


    This week, the health department will provide its community health partners and officials in area municipalities with copies of the strategic priorities and the supporting data, Gunn said.


    About PHAB

    A nonprofit organization, PHAB is dedicated to improving and protecting the health of the public by advancing the quality and performance of Tribal, state, local, and territorial public health departments. This is the first time national accreditation has been offered. Incorporated in May 2007, PHAB works closely with several organizations that represent the wide variety of public health departments and structures across the country. These partners include: the American Public Health Association (APHA), the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), the National Association of Local Boards of Health (NALBOH), the National Indian Health Board (NIHB), the National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI), and the Public Health Foundation (PHF).



    Significant Rise in Number of Severe Flu Cases
    County Health Department Offering Free Flu Vaccinations This Week


    (January 14, 2014) – The Saint Louis County Department of Health is responding to a significant increase in the number of severe flu cases in the area by offering free flu vaccinations to those six months of age and older at three clinics this week.


    Regional hospitals have been reporting unusually severe cases of flu this year – especially among young and middle-aged adults with many requiring hospitalization and some resulting in death. The Saint Louis County Department of Health, BJC HealthCare, and SSM Health Care are urging all individuals six months and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible.


    The dates, times, and locations for the three free flu vaccination clinics are:


    North Central Community Health Center

    4000 Jennings Station Road in Pine Lawn (63121)

    Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

    12:00 p.m. (noon) to 4:00 p.m.


    John C. Murphy Health Center

    6121 North Hanley Road in Berkeley (63134)

    Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

    12:00 p.m. (noon) to 4:00 p.m.


    South County Health Center

    4580 South Lindbergh Boulevard in Sunset Hills (63127)

    Thursday, January 16th, 2014

    12:00 p.m. (noon) to 4:00 p.m.


    If you think you may have already contracted the flu, it is recommended that you contact your health care provider for follow up and possible treatment – especially if you have a fever of 100° F or higher. Symptoms of the flu can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches, chills, tiredness or fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.


    Residents still needing a seasonal flu vaccination who aren’t able to visit one of the free vaccination clinics next week can visit the Saint Louis County Department of Health’s flu website to find other locations offering vaccine:

    www.SaintLouisCountyFlu.com


    Saint Louis County’s latest flu numbers can be viewed at:


    www.stlouisco.com/Portals/8/docs/Health/Flu%20Reports/Influenza-Report_010814.pdf




    Significant Rise in Number of Severe Flu Cases
    County Health Department to Offer Free Flu Vaccinations


    (January 9, 2014) – The Saint Louis County Department of Health is responding to a significant increase in the number of severe flu cases in the area by offering free flu vaccinations to those six months of age and older at clinics next week.


    Regional hospitals are reporting unusually severe cases of flu this year – especially among young and middle-aged adults with many requiring hospitalization and some resulting in death. The Saint Louis County Department of Health, BJC HealthCare, and SSM Health Care are urging all individuals six months and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible.


    “The best protection against the flu is vaccination,” said Dr. Dolores J. Gunn, director of the Saint Louis County Department of Health. “Getting vaccinated isn’t just about protecting yourself. It’s also about protecting others. If you don’t catch the flu, then you won’t spread the flu.”


    The dates, times, and locations for the three free flu vaccination clinics are:


    North Central Community Health Center

    4000 Jennings Station Road in Pine Lawn (63121)

    Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

    12:00 p.m. (noon) to 4:00 p.m.


    John C. Murphy Health Center

    6121 North Hanley Road in Berkeley (63134)

    Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

    12:00 p.m. (noon) to 4:00 p.m.


    South County Health Center

    4580 South Lindbergh Boulevard in Sunset Hills (63127)

    Thursday, January 16th, 2014

    12:00 p.m. (noon) to 4:00 p.m.


    If you think you may have already contracted the flu, it is recommended that you contact your health care provider for follow up and possible treatment – especially if you have a fever of 100° F or higher. Symptoms of the flu can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches, chills, tiredness or fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.


    Residents still needing a seasonal flu vaccination who aren’t able to visit one of the free vaccination clinics next week can visit the Saint Louis County Department of Health’s flu website to find other locations offering vaccine:

    www.SaintLouisCountyFlu.com


    Saint Louis County’s latest flu numbers can be viewed at:


    www.stlouisco.com/Portals/8/docs/Health/Flu%20Reports/Influenza-Report_010814.pdf




    County Health Department Strongly Advises Everyone Be Vaccinated Against Seasonal Flu


    (January 2, 2014) – The Saint Louis County Department of Health is strongly advising that all residents be vaccinated against the seasonal flu. The number of flu cases in the St. Louis area has more than doubled over the last two weeks and vaccination is the best way to stop that trend.


    “We have seen significantly more cases of seasonal flu over the last two weeks – especially among teenagers and young adults – and this concerns us because this is a vaccine-preventable disease,” said Dr. Dolores J. Gunn, director of the department.


    Added Dr. Gunn, “Getting vaccinated isn’t just about protecting yourself – it’s also about protecting others. If you don’t catch the flu, then you can’t spread it to those who are more vulnerable like infants, the elderly, and those with a weakened immune system.”


    Residents needing a seasonal flu vaccine can visit the Saint Louis County Department of Health’s flu website to find out where they can go to be vaccinated:


    www.SaintLouisCountyFlu.com


    Each flu season, between 15 and 60 million Americans are infected by seasonal flu each flu, depending on the severity of the outbreak. Over 200,000 people are hospitalized every year due to flu-related complications and around 36,000 of them die.


    There is currently no shortage of flu vaccine or antiviral medication in the St. Louis area; however, the department will continue to monitor the availability of vaccine and antiviral medications in collaboration with health care providers.


    Other standard precautions being urged by the county health department are:


  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or into your sleeve – not into your hands.
  • Wash your hands often, especially after using the restroom, after coughing or sneezing, or before preparing food.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth as much as possible (this is how the flu virus spreads).
  • Keep a supply of flu-related foods and medicines in your home to avoid having to shop after you get sick.
  • Maintain a distance of three feet between you and others, especially if you think you are sick.
  • If you or your child does get sick, stay at home until fully recovered.
  • Talk to medical providers by phone to avoid in-person contact.