September 22, 2021

Working to serve

County health department brings in more than $212,000 in grants

Three grants totaling more than $212,000 were approved for the Jasper County Health Department by the board of health at it July meeting. The grants, which cover local public health services, COVID and immunization services provide funds to assist the health department in serving the county and its citizens.

“I think it is important that you see the financial side of what we have going on,” Jasper County Public Health Administrator Becky Pryor said.

The Local Public Health Services grant comes in at $86,948 and is a long time funding source for the county health department

“The two activities we are seeking approval for is disease outbreak and local board of health (for the Local Public Health Services grant),”Pryor said. “This is the grant that we have continued to get for more than 20 years. It is about the same amount. This is our main grant that we have for local board of health and local health services.”

The second grant, a COVID — Equity grant is a one time funding dispersement of $114,499 to the county. It is the third COVID related grant the county has received to respond to the pandemic.

“We have had a lot of talk in our administrator meetings about these grants and how to spend it. Mostly, this one is for marketing and outreach to people in the community,” Pryor said. “We have been doing ads in the newspaper really promoting the places offering the COVID vaccine. Also, we are doing the kids health fair, the county fair, flyers on where to get the COVID vaccine.”

She said the department is also doing a lot of work on social media including daily posts. While she knows the public is getting COVID fatigue, the health department feels it is important to keep the public up-to-date on the latest news and information surrounding the virus.

“I’m also looking for other things to do with the grand such as a kiosk system, we bought for the county that has an electronic message on it but we are trying to figure out other ways to do electronic messaging,” Pryor said. “We are trying to be creative and think of ways that we haven’t done before to get the message out.”

Board of health president Margot Voshell asked if citizens of the county have enough opportunity to receive the vaccine wherever they may live. Board medical advisor Dr. Andrew Cope said he does and that it is available.

The final grant, specifically dealing with immunizations comes to the county in the amount of $11,000. Down from $13,000 last year, the grant is divided into two categories: regular immunization activities and pandemic influenza.

“The immunization is federal state funds and the pandemic influenza is federal funds that we receive,” Pryor said. “Most of this is when we do the school audits but also Kristina (Winfield) does immunization clinics for those who don’t have insurance or go anywhere else for their vaccines.”

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com