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The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
June 26, 2019     The Monroe County Reporter
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June 26, 2019

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Page 2C June 26, 2019 By Diane Glidewell Georgia is battling a statewide outbreak of Hepatitis A and is asking counties to help the Health Department reach out to high risk groups. Amber Erickson, North Central Health District Director of Epidemiolog told the Monroe County Board of Health at its quarterly meet- ing on June 18. There have been 416 cases confirmed in the state, 19 of them in the North Central District, since last June, which is a 200 percent increase. Erickson said the North Central 13-county health district, which indudes Baldwin, Crawford, Hancock, Houston, Jasper, Jones, Macon-Bibb, Mon- roe, Peach, Putnam, Twiggs, Washington and Wilkinson counties, has only seen one or two cases annually in preceding years. The major- ity Of cases are being seen in Augusta, Fulton County and along Georgia's border with Tennessee. The North Central District is trying to stay ahead of the problem. Hepatitis A is a highly contagious disease that causes liver infection. It is spread by contaminated food or water or person-to- person. It can be prevented by vaccination. Erickson said the Health Department is working to educate food service workers and high risk groups, including the homeless, those recently incarcerated, drug users and first responders. Erickson said the district continues to monitor opioid overdoses but has not had any in the district in the last eight months. The district is tracking the increase in potential measles cases but has had no confirmed cases. This is because most of the population has been vaccinated against measles. Two shots are needed for protection, an initial dose and a booster. The district is working to make sure children and adults are vac- cinated, especially anyone who is around a newborn, and that mothers are vacci- nated in their third trimes- ter to protect newborns. Monroe County schools superintendent Dr. Mike Hickman asked how the Health Department moni- tors vaccinations of private school and homeschooled students. Erickson said private schools have the same requirements for vac- cinations as public schools, but there are no rules for homeschoolers, and most cases of measles are in homeschooled students. She suggested passing on concerns to legislators. District Environmental Health Director Carla Coley said new legislation regulating tattooing and piercing goes into effect July 1. What had previously been regulated by county govemments will now be uniformly regulated in the state. However, little will change in Monroe County since it has been using the regulations that the state adopted. Monroe County Envi- ronmental Health Director Gina Smith said that her efforts to inspect the Ink Wizard Tattoo business at 620 Indian Springs Drive have been unsuccessful because she can't find the business open. That is the only tattoo and piercing business she knows of in Monroe County. North Central District Health Director Dr. Renee Haynes said that after leg- islation to remove tax from feminine hygiene products to make them more afford- able for low income women did not pass, arrangements have been made to have the products available at health departments. Haynes expects the district to get supplies of feminine hy- giene products in about two months. The state is negotiating for a good price on the products and will distribute them for free. Income veri- fication will not be required since they will be primarily distributed to clients receiv- ing other services. Haynes said they have not gotten permission to distribute the products outside the Health Department, yet, but they hope to be able to take them places like health fairs. Board member Hugh Cromer said it would be good if they could be distributed at places like the Rock Springs Clinic, at the high school and through primary care physicians. Haynes said Monroe County Health Department is still offering extended hours on Tuesdays, stay- ing open until 7 p.m. The department is open 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. on Tuesday How- ever, the late availability on Tuesdays is not being used enough. The department will not be able to continue having staff stay late if the services are available during the extended hours. Continued from Front it up. "I love it too much" he said when asked if he ever considered quitting. He considers the Zumba class his second and said they are very helpful and supportive, especiany his instructor Hol . 'I love my class. They're my friends; my f' nil . I call them my girlfriends ' he hughed, loey said that he recommends Zumba for everyone, not for people who want to lose weight. It can be used as a dance dass, anexerdse class, or even an option for people who struggle using overbearing gym equipment.Joey said that Zumba classes make working out fun, and that while he may eventually using other equip- ment in the FitCo gym, he is just going to stay with his "second fimily" for now. The Zumba class at FitCo gym meets every Sunday, Tuesday and 'Ihursday, and every other Saturda n Member- hip. tO the gym can be purchased through their website or by going to the gyms building. 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