The Wayne County Health Department plans to have local agencies under contract by June 1 to provide core services required by Health First Indiana.

During a March 12 meeting, the county’s Board of Health approved a contract template and timeline for requesting proposals, receiving grant applications and awarding funds from the $803,000 additional public health funding Health First Indiana provided the county this year. The contracts would run through 2025 when the department expects to receive at least $1.6 million in state funding.

The county commissioners endorsed the contracting forms during their meeting the next day.

Becca Alliston, the health department’s clinical director, said the state program is designed to build up community agencies and the services they provide.

The health department must provide a 2025 Health First Indiana budget by June 1. The state will provide double the money it allocated during 2025; however, the county’s required funding is just a 20% match in 2025. This year, the county provided $827,000, which is in line with past years.

Alliston plans to provide the board with budgets that fit scenarios where the county continues full funding and where it drops funding to the 20% requirement.

COVID update

Dr. David Jetmore, the county’s health officer, told board members that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends residents age 65 and older or with compromised immune systems receive another COVID-19 vaccine dose if it’s been four months since their last dose.

The CDC has also moved COVID isolation guidelines in line with other respiratory illnesses. It now suggests isolation for one day after being fever free without medication and with improving symptoms. The individual then is recommended to mask and keep at a distance from others for five days.

Septic fees

The board unanimously approved changes to the county’s septic program fees.

Fees of $400 for new septic systems, $300 for replacements and $100 for repairs will now be paid in a single payment. The totals remain the same; however, they were paid in installments as the process progressed.

The fee schedule introduces a new $100 annual fee for holding tanks.

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A version of this article appeared in the March 20 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.