Board of Health

Boards, Commissions & Committees

Board of Health - November 20, 2020 Minutes

Special Meeting: November 20, 2020

Opening: Noon, Virtual Meeting, Chelsey Matter called the meeting to order
Present: Chelsey Matter, Rick Steen, Dr. Amy LaValla, Arlette Preston, Dr. Kayla Nelson, Lyn Telford, Pearl Ferguson-Mell, Dr. Tracie Newman
Others Present: Melissa Perala, Larry Anenson, Dr. Heidi Lako-Adamson, Suzanne Schaefer, Kim Vance, Doug Murphy, Chris Ohman, Brenton Nesemeier, Grant Larson, Lori Sall
Absent: Bernie Dardis

Approval of Minutes: Arlette moved to approve, Rick Steen seconded, passed with unanimous approval

COVID-19 Update on Contact Tracing:
Larry Anenson oversees the contact tracing group. There are currently 28 contact tracers. Most are full time and a few are part-time. There is also public health staff that is trained to assist when needed. The regular programs FCPH staff leave to work on contact tracing does cause some interruption in their programs. Our goal is to have no interruption in our services as we take care of COVID operations. Contact tracers operate from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. seven days a week, including holidays. A recent update from the ND Department of Health has changed how contact tracing is done. Cases were taking up to one hour per case which was resulting in a backlog. The new request is that positive individuals need to contact their close contacts, so now case investigations take 10-15 minutes. Education takes place with the positive person and scripts are shared on how to inform their close contacts. The number for contact tracing is 241.1587. Contact tracers are leaving it up to the positive individuals to contact their contacts. There is no follow up to check to see if they contacted their contacts. Contact tracers rely on people to be truthful. The people who refused to share information about their contacts are the same people who probably will not inform their close contacts. There are 200 plus cases a day, we have unmitigated community spread. It is difficult to pinpoint where a person got COVID because they usually have more than one exposure. Arlette Preston questioned where the funding will come from after the federal money stops on December 30, 2020. Melissa Perala stated that we currently have a grant for $600,000 that is starting January 1, 2021 that will last us two months. There have been discussions about how to bridge the gap of funding using City funds. Chelsey Matter wanted to know if the changes to contact tracing are statewide. Larry Anenson said that it is most important to contact positives as quickly as possible. Some counties are doing more contact tracing depending on their caseload. The goal is to effectively isolate and quarantine positives as quickly as possible. Chris Ohman has been involved with the COVID response team, doing workplace assessments to mitigate risk for the workplace or large events. Fargo Cass Public Health has a COVID business response hotline phone number, 241.1346, that takes concerns about masks, occupancy, etc.. People can inquire about the size of venues, discuss retail stores that are not conforming to the mask mandate. The first step is always education. Arlette Preston wants to know what happens when someone reports a mandate violation. The call will be sent to environmental health first and then the police. For bars we are hoping that businesses will follow because of their compliance is tied to their liquor license.

COVID-19 Update
Suzanne Schaefer spoke regarding vaccine planning. In October they begin to plan for the vaccine. They are meeting one on one with long term care facilities to make sure they have a vaccine plan. Local public health is a backup for the long term care facilities. There is a vaccine hesitancy that is being dealt with by using education to dispel myths and misinformation about the vaccine. The timeline is that the vaccine will begin arriving in mid-December. Health systems will vaccinate their own staff. Fargo Cass Public Health is working on setting up a static site in the community. A smaller site at first but will expand as needed. Hunter Hubrig is working on the planning for this. Suzanne Schaefer reported that flu vaccinations are going good and people are getting vaccinated early. There will be no cost for the vaccine at this point for the individual. Fargo Cass Public Health will not be charging an administration fee, our number one goal is to protect the community. Pfizer has two rounds about 21 days apart, Moderna will be 28 days apart for the second shot. Pfizer can be kept on dry ice and Moderna is freezer temp and refrigerator stable. We have forty days before the end of December and there a lot of unknowns.
Chelsey Matter reiterated support for Fargo Cass Public Health and the goal of community safety.

Meeting adjourned: Motion by Chelsey Matter

Next Meeting: December 18, 2020