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County Health reports six cases of Influenza B


December 19, 2019

DAYTON–Six cases of Influenza B, which is highly contagious and can only be passed from human to human, have been confirmed in Columbia County, Public Health Administrator Martha Lanman reported to Commissioners this week.

This is based on data from Dayton General Hospital, discussion indicated. If there is more than 10% absenteeism, school officials alert Public Health, which in turn notifies the hospital, which in turn makes a decision about visiting people in Booker Rest Home, whether face masks will be required, etc.

In other areas, Lanman reported that there will be changes to the Solid Waste Ordinance due to legislation changes coming. A public hearing is not necessary for this. The State is requiring the changes. There will be more uniformity with the Revised Code of Washington requirements.

She also reported that the State Office of Superintendent for Public Instruction (OSPI) is requiring County Public Health departments to inspect school playground equipment. This may be mandated for the 2020-2021 school year. She said Public Health employees in Walla Walla County have already received training in doing these inspections. Columbia County will wait until the requirement is mandated. The amount of training required for this at this time is uncertain.

There are new food regulations coming, according to Lanman. Due to recently passed legislation, there will be a requirement for a Food Overseer. This will not go into effect until 2021. This will affect any place where food is served, to include temporary food service. There are many questions with this, such as, can the training be provided here (as opposed to going to Spokane or Seattle), what can be done to help the businesses that serve food, can the County have one person certified for this as opposed to multiple people certified; one per food establishment. The training is a full day and may require one person from each food service operation to receive the training. More information on this will come later.

A new Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) education class will be held at The Club at the beginning of the next year. These have been held in the past and have been successful. Previous classes have focused on cooking and gardening. For 2020, the focus will be on cooking, exercise, and manners. Leslie Sweetwood, Public Health Educator, has been teaching these classes. Participants at The Club have enjoyed the presentations, and parents have provided positive feedback on these events.


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