Campaign aims to get more Americans their updated COVID-19 vaccine by end of the year

November 22, 2022

Campaign aims to get more Americans their updated COVID-19 vaccine by end of the year

MOBILE, Ala. — Earlier today, the Biden Administration announced a six-week campaign through the end of the year urging Americans to get their updated COVID-19 vaccine. With winter and holiday gatherings right around the corner, more Americans getting their updated vaccine will help avoid thousands of preventable COVID-19 deaths.

The six-week campaign will focus on reaching seniors and the communities that were hardest hit by COVID-19 by making it even more convenient to get vaccinated and increasing awareness through paid media.

“We are seeing an increase in patients presenting with upper respiratory illnesses,” said Dr. Kevin P. Michaels, Health Officer of Mobile County. “We have modified our COVID-19 stance to low community transmission. Facial covering is not required. We have two great vaccinations for prevention of influenza and COVID-19. Get vaccinated now and protect yourself and loved ones during this holiday season.”

MCHD and Family Health, its primary care division, have all three vaccines available (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Novavax). Information on COVID-19 vaccinations and testing can be found at www.MCHDcares.com or by calling 251-410-MCHD (6243).

Vaccinations and rapid testing are available at MCHD’s Festival Centre location in West Mobile (3725 Airport Boulevard, Suite 101-A), the Public Health Response Unit 2 located at the Keeler Memorial Building (251 North Bayou Street in Mobile), the Public Health Response Unit 1 located at the Semmes Health Center (3810 Wulff Road East), and the Southwest Public Health Center (5580 Inn Road in Tillman’s Corner).

These in-clinic services from the COVID-19 Response Team are available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. There are no out-of-pocket costs. While no appointment is required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, individual appointments must be made for rapid testing online at this link — https://appointments.mchd.org.

COVID-19 vaccines are also available by appointment at the following Family Health locations – Keeler Memorial Building (251 North Bayou Street in Mobile), Semmes Health Center (3810 Wulff Road East), Eight Mile Health Center (4009 Saint Stephens Road), Southwest Mobile Health Center (5580 Inn Road in Tillman’s Corner) and Dauphin Island Parkway Health Center (2601 Dauphin Island Parkway in Mobile). Appointments may be made by calling 251-690-8889.

“Less than 50 percent of Mobile County residents have completed the COVID vaccination series,” Dr. Michaels said. “As we approach the holiday season, reduce your risk for becoming ill in yourself, family, and friends. Complete the COVID-19 vaccination series with the COVID-19 Booster. They are available at many pharmacies and groceries stores across the county.”

Integra Water reports Sanitary Sewer Overflow

November 17, 2022

Integra Water reports Sanitary Sewer Overflow

MOBILE, Ala. — Integra Water Creola responded to a Sanitary Sewer Overflow on November 16 from a ditch off Creola Axis Loop North. Approximately 1,700 gallons of wastewater overflowed and was absorbed by the ground.

According to a report to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, a customer had called Integra Water Creola about a possible break in the line. It was identified that a third party caused the break. Integra crews shut down the valves to stop the flow through the line.

Dr. Kevin P. Michaels, Health Officer for Mobile County, advises area residents to take precautions when coming into contact with any standing water that may have accumulated as a result of this overflow. Those who have come into direct contact with untreated sewage are advised to wash their hands and clothing thoroughly.

MCHD named an Infection Prevention & Control Champion

November 16, 2022

MCHD named an Infection Prevention & Control Champion

MOBILE, Ala. — The Mobile County Health Department’s Infection Prevention team has received recognition from the National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO). The group has named MCHD as an Infection Prevention & Control (IPC) Champion.

“I am pleased to announce that your team was selected as the winner,” the NACCHO announcement stated. “Through your submission, it was clear that despite challenges, the Mobile County Health Department Infection Prevention Team remained flexible and served your community with distinction.”

The team’s many efforts were highlighted on the NACCHO website. The article is available at this link — https://www.naccho.org/blog/articles/member-spotlight-mobile-county

IPC describes a set of practices which aim to prevent the spread of infections, including healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and emerging infectious diseases (such as COVID-19) in healthcare facilities and other congregate settings. IPC includes hand hygiene, the use of personal protective equipment, safe injection practices, and proper environmental cleaning.

NACCHO’s IPC Champion recognition aims to highlight the IPC achievements of local health departments and honor the staff leading this work. NACCHO IPC Champions are respected individuals working in local public health who are advancing infection prevention and control capacity, activities, guidelines, and engagement.

NACCHO is the only organization dedicated to serving every local health department in the nation. NACCHO serves approximately 3,000 local health departments and is the leader in providing cutting-edge skill-building, professional resources, and programs, seeking health equity, and supporting effective local public health practices and systems.

Prichard reports on Sanitary Sewer Overflow

November 15, 2022

Prichard reports on Sanitary Sewer Overflow

MOBILE, Ala. — Prichard Water Works & Sewer Board has reported on a Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) from November 14. The SSO occurred at the intersection of West Highland Street and Velma Street.

Officials say the soft start/motor saver at the West Highland lift station had to be re-set and normal operation resumed. A power fluctuation is suspected.

It is estimated the overflow was 3,000 gallons. The ultimate destination was Toulmins Spring Branch.

Dr. Kevin P. Michaels, Health Officer for Mobile County, advises area residents to take precautions when coming into contact with any standing water that may have accumulated as a result of this overflow. Those who have come into direct contact with untreated sewage are advised to wash their hands and clothing thoroughly.

Area residents should take precautions when using Toulmins Spring Branch for recreational purposes because of these overflows. All seafood harvested in this general area should be thoroughly cooked before eating. People should wash hands after cleaning seafood and before preparing food.

MCHD and Family Health recognize their Nurse Practitioners

November 14, 2022

MCHD and Family Health recognize their Nurse Practitioners

MOBILE, Ala. — As the demand for quality health care continues to increase, nurse practitioners (NPs) are rising to meet the needs of patients. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, NPs have been on the front lines of health care delivery, ensuring patients have access to lifesaving vaccinations, as well as primary, acute, long-term and specialty care.

To honor their many contributions to the health of communities nationwide, the Mobile County Health Department and Family Health – its primary care division — are recognizing the critical role of NPs as part of the annual National Nurse Practitioner Week celebration.

NP Week recognizes the positive impact NPs make in the lives of patients through more than 1 billion annual visits. More than 355,000 NPs are increasing access to equitable, person-centered, high-quality health care.

“NPs prioritize the needs of patients and improve the health of their communities,” said April N. Kapu, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, FAANP, FCCM, FAAN, president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. “Since the nurse practitioner role began more than 50 years ago, NPs have risen to meet each challenge, worked to eliminate health care disparities and strengthened our nation’s ability to ensure patients have equitable access to high-quality care.”

Members of the MCHD/Family Health team being recognized for their contributions are:

Jolanda Amey, FNP-C
Maria Beck, CRNP
Shayria Catlin, DNP
Jessica Clarke, CRNP
Seth Davis, CRNP
Ashlee Fountain-Jones, CRNP, NP-C
Charlotte Gamble, NP-C
Misty Guy, CRNP
Edna Harris, CRNP
Jeri Jones, FNP

Thaila Keodouangdy, CRNP
Raquel King, CRNP
Anita LeBatard, CRNP
Laura Minus, CRNP
Hoai-Linh Nguyen, FNP-C
Cindy Norman, CRNP
Barbara Swartz, FNP
Bethany Vickrey, CRNP
Mason Wade, CRNP
Laura Jane Wolf, CRNP

West Nile Virus detected in another sentinel chicken

November 7, 2022

West Nile Virus detected in sentinel chicken

MOBILE, Ala. – A sentinel chicken used by the Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) to detect mosquito-borne diseases in the community has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV).

WNV has been confirmed by laboratory results, according to Dr. Kevin P. Michaels, Health Officer for Mobile County. The coop is located in the 36582 ZIP Code area.

Vector Services has had sentinel chickens in six coops test positive for viruses this year. Five have been for WNV while a sixth was positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).

Humans with WNV and other mosquito-borne diseases often have symptoms of high fever, severe headache, nausea, stiff neck, confusion, muscle weakness, paralysis, disorientation, and seizures that are severe enough to require medical attention.

The risk of encephalitis spread by mosquitoes is highest from August through the first freeze in the fall. MCHD’s Vector Services will increase spraying and conduct door-to-door surveys in the immediate areas. Inspectors will also attempt to trap adult mosquitoes and test them for the presence of WNV.

Blood is drawn from the sentinel chickens every Monday by Vector Services, and the samples are sent to a lab in Tampa, Florida. The results of the tests are made available later in the week.

Health officials warn that it is extremely important that people taking part in outdoor activities make every effort to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes. Recommendations include:
• Use an Environmental Protection Agency-registered repellent with DEET.
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
• Stay and sleep in places with air conditioning or window and door screens.
• Remove standing water around your home.

WNV is transmitted from bird to mosquito to bird during the transmission cycle. Mosquitoes can spread these viruses by feeding on the blood of infected birds and then biting another host animal or mammal, such as a human or a horse.

Although humans and horses can become ill from the infection, the diseases cannot be spread from people or horses. The likelihood of transmission to humans and horses can be decreased by personal mosquito avoidance and the use of a WNV vaccine in horses. There is no vaccine available for humans.

For approximately 30 years, MCHD’s Vector Services has monitored encephalitis in sentinel poultry flocks strategically placed in 13 coops throughout the county to detect the presence of viruses carried by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes also are trapped and tested for WNV, EEE, and St. Louis Encephalitis.

To report an issue with mosquitoes, call Vector Services at 251-690-8124. To learn more about the department, you may visit https://mchd.org/vector-control. From there, you can find a link and a QR code to access the new online portal for ordering services to deal with mosquitoes and rodents.

MCHD taking part in Opportunity Days at local schools

November 7, 2022

MCHD taking part in Opportunity Days at local schools

MOBILE, Ala. — The Mobile County Health Department’s Health Equity Office is partnering with Opportunity 4 Entertainers & Performing Arts and the Mobile County Public Schools to host several Mental Health Awareness, Education Fair, and Talent Showcase School tours. The events will take place this week and last through December 16.

The participating high schools are Mattie T. Blount, Citronelle, Ben C. Rain, Theodore, Lille B. Williamson, and Elizabeth S. Chastang Middle School. It is estimated that 300 to 400 students will pass through the exhibit hall at each school.

The purpose of the school tours is to talk with students about mental health concerns and provide educational resources; expose them to career and post-secondary opportunities; and allow the students to showcase their talents before their classmates and families.

In 2021, MCHD established the Health Equity Office to address health disparities in Mobile County. Funding came from the National Initiative to Address COVID-19 Health Disparities Among Populations at High-Risk and Underserved, Including Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations and Rural Communities.

In addition to the Health Equity Office, MCHD’s Community Prevention Programs; Women, Infants & Children (WIC) supplemental nutrition services; Overdose Data to Action (OD2A) program, and The Fatherhood Initiative have agreed to support the school tours.

Opportunity 4 Entertainers & Performing Arts was founded in July 2010 by a group of volunteers eager to assist the youth with the community as well as individuals looking to pursue a career in the performing arts industry. The group focuses on public speaking, communication streaming, ACT training, community outreaches, financial literacy, mentoring, and the fundamentals of music.

These tours are the first phase of Opportunity Days outreach events. Opportunity 4 Entertainment is planning another school tour in the spring.

West Nile Virus detected in sentinel chicken

November 3, 2022

West Nile Virus detected in sentinel chicken

MOBILE, Ala. – A sentinel chicken used by the Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) to detect mosquito-borne diseases in the community has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). This is a form of mosquito-borne encephalitis.

WNV has been confirmed by laboratory results, according to Dr. Kevin P. Michaels, Health Officer for Mobile County. The coop is located in the 36613 ZIP Code area. This is the fourth positive case for the sentinel chicken program this year.

Humans with WNV and other mosquito-borne diseases often have symptoms of high fever, severe headache, nausea, stiff neck, confusion, muscle weakness, paralysis, disorientation, and seizures that are severe enough to require medical attention.

The risk of encephalitis spread by mosquitoes is highest from August through the first freeze in the fall. MCHD’s Vector Services will increase spraying and conduct door-to-door surveys in the immediate areas. Inspectors will also attempt to trap adult mosquitoes and test them for the presence of WNV.

Blood is drawn from the sentinel chickens every Monday by Vector Services, and the samples are sent to a lab in Tampa, Florida. The results of the tests are made available later in the week.

Health officials warn that it is extremely important that people taking part in outdoor activities make every effort to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes. Recommendations include:
• Use an Environmental Protection Agency-registered repellent with DEET.
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
• Stay and sleep in places with air conditioning or window and door screens.
• Remove standing water around your home.

WNV is transmitted from bird to mosquito to bird during the transmission cycle. Mosquitoes can spread these viruses by feeding on the blood of infected birds and then biting another host animal or mammal, such as a human or a horse.

Although humans and horses can become ill from the infection, the diseases cannot be spread from people or horses. The likelihood of transmission to humans and horses can be decreased by personal mosquito avoidance and the use of a WNV vaccine in horses. There is no vaccine available for humans.

For approximately 30 years, MCHD’s Vector Services has monitored encephalitis in sentinel poultry flocks strategically placed in 13 coops throughout the county to detect the presence of viruses carried by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes also are trapped and tested for WNV, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, and St. Louis Encephalitis.

To report an issue with mosquitoes, call Vector Services at 251-690-8124. To learn more about the department, you may visit https://mchd.org/vector-control. From there, you can find a link and a QR code to access the new online portal for ordering services to deal with mosquitoes and rodents.

Open Enrollment for health insurance has begun

November 1, 2022

Open Enrollment for health insurance has begun

MOBILE, Ala. — The Marketplace Open Enrollment Period on https://www.healthcare.gov begins today. Consumers who enroll by midnight December 15 can get full year coverage that starts January 1, 2023.

This year, 13 million Americans will continue to save an average of $800 per year on their health insurance. Four out of five customers will be able to find a plan for $10 or less after subsidies. Consumers with coverage through HealthCare.gov are encouraged to return and shop to see if another plan better meets their needs at a lower cost.

The Mobile County Health Department and Family Health, its primary care division, have Certified Application Counselors ready to assist. The counselors have been trained and are able to help consumers as they look for health coverage options through the Health Insurance Exchange. They can assist consumers in completing eligibility and enrollment forms. Assistance by the Certified Application Counselors is free to consumers.

Certified Application Counselors can be found at all Family Health centers conveniently located throughout Mobile County. To make an appointment, please call the Family Health center located closest to you. For a list of sites, you may visit https://mchd.org/family-health/#locations or call 251-690-8964.

Rabies clinics planned in November for dogs, cats, and ferrets

November 1, 2022

Rabies clinics planned in November for dogs, cats, and ferrets

MOBILE, Ala. — The Mobile County Health Department provides low-cost rabies shots for dogs, cats, and ferrets that are good for one year during weekend clinics. Here is a list of the rabies clinics planned during November in Mobile County:

• November 5 (Saturday), 10 a.m. to noon, Little Flower Catholic School, 2103 Government Street in Mobile
• November 12 (Saturday), 10 a.m. to noon, Pet Supplies Plus, 803 Hillcrest Road in Mobile
• November 18 (Friday), 10 a.m. to noon, Mobile County Animal Shelter, 7665 Howells Ferry Road in Mobile
• November 19 (Saturday), 1 to 3 p.m., B&B Pet Stop, 5035 Cottage Hill Road in Mobile

In order to adhere to social distancing recommendations, these events will be drive-through clinics. The cost of the rabies vaccine per pet is $12. All rabies shots are payable in cash.

Each month, MCHD’s Rabies Officer provides residents with low-cost vaccines for their pet dogs, cats, and ferrets at a variety of locations. The state of Alabama tasks local health departments with providing affordable rabies vaccinations to pet owners. MCHD’s Rabies Officer has provided 1,338 vaccinations (1,113 dogs and 225 cats) during 2022.

Rabies is a virus that attacks the central nervous system. It is transmitted from infected mammals to humans and is fatal once symptoms appear. Symptoms of rabies include unusual behavior, irritability, headache, fever, inability to eat or drink, balance problems, circling, seizures, coma, and, finally, death. All warm-blooded mammals, including humans, are susceptible to rabies.

In 2021, MCHD’s Rabies Officer vaccinated 1,620 household pets. To learn more about our program, visit https://mchd.org/disease-control/#rabies.

A Rabies Quarantine Fact Sheet is available through the Alabama Department of Public Health at https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/assets/rabiesquarantinefactsheet.pdf.

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