Board of Health

Boards, Commissions & Committees

Board of Health - October 16, 2020

Regular Meeting: October 16, 2020

Opening: Noon Virtual Meeting, Chelsey Matter chairperson
Present: Chelsea Matter, Arlette Preston, Kaya Nelson, Amy LaValla, Lyn Telford, Pearl Ferguson-Mell, Rick Steen, Dr. Tracie Newman, Bernie Dardis
Others Present: Desi Fleming, Dr. Heidi Lako Adamson, Kim Lipetzky, Holly Scott, Melissa Perala, Larry Anenson, Justin Bohrer, Brenton Nesemeier, Suzanne Schaefer, Doug Murphy, Jan Eliassen, Mike Hondlik, Lori Sall

Chelsey Matter, Chair called the meeting to order. Roll call.
Approve minutes from August 14, 2020: Amy LaValla made a motion to approve, Lyn Telford seconded and the motion carried.

Flu shot reminder. Please get your flu shot before the end of October if possible. Kayla Nelson noted that a record number of people were coming in to get flu shots at Family Healthcare. Desi Fleming reminds everyone to contact us with any technical issues and that this is a live stream meeting.

Engagement Center update: Jan Eliassen (Located in the old police department location.)
The building should be open by November 1. They will have 11 quarantine rooms and some larger rooms that will have pod rooms that will serve as isolation. Providers are willing to come and help with COVID issues on site. We did have an entire floor of isolation rooms at Delta, and we have been utilizing hotels here and there. We are assuming close contact and positives are on the rise. If we need to deal with a family. They may collaborate to go to Moorhead side and be in a hotel together. Desi Fleming stated that July was the drop off for the statewide support for arranging shelter for these cases. They still support but want the local level to coordinate. We looked for other options but hotels were not able to assist. We can go to Clay County if we had to. The city of Fargo planning department is trying to make changes to get more quarantine spaces. Collaboration with the community to help the homeless is very important right now.

Blue Zone Update: Kim Lipetzky
Lyn Telford is also a partner with this Blue Zone project. Blue Zones project is based on the philosophy
of Power of Nine which is the secrets to living life longer and better. Displays a Blue Zones map, which marks all the places with the longest life expectancy in the world. Why are they living longer? Common traits called the Power of Nine;
1) Move naturally (bike and walk mostly for transportation) 2) Ability to downshift (meditate, gather with family and friends) 3) Purpose Now (articulate strong sense of purpose) 4) Wine @ 5 (eat and socialize with family for dinner) 5) Plant Slant (eat mostly vegetables) 6) 80% Rule (ate until about 80% full) 7) Loved Ones First (invest in family and friends throughout life) 8) Belong (faith based lives with a strong sense of belonging) 9) Right Tribe (who you spend time with influences your habits)
They like to work in a community to make changes. Healthy choices such as better food in grocery stores, students are nudged to eat better at school, more bike lanes and walking paths, setting up social networks, and helping people find a sense of purpose. Three communities are working with the Blue Zones committee: Fargo/West Fargo, Bismarck/Mandan and Grand Forks. We have a local planning team with Fargo Cass Public Health, Sanford, City of Fargo planning, Southeast Education Coop, and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Looking at our community's strengths and weaknesses. The community led a presentation on August 10th and did a virtual visit from August 17 through the 21st. They will be meeting again at the end of October. They will present their assessment information. They will hire a local Blue Zones team to help with the project if we are accepted. They will provide resources and experts that can help. They usually come into a community for three to five years. The state is interested in finding four other communities in North Dakota to participate. State is interested in finding four other communities in North Dakota. Cass Clay Alive (Healthy Initiative) that we partnered with before was trying to help make healthy choices the easiest option for people. We have great plans but now we need to take the next steps.

Funding Update: Melissa Perala
We are now seven months into this pandemic. Money from the state from the CARES grant totaled over 8 million dollars. Local public health was 3.7 million, 1.2 million was for the task force, and the rest was in local public health specifically. We have spent 1.7 million by the end of September. We have enough funding to get through the end of the year. Planning had 3.9 million funding and it has been reworked so they think they will spend 2.2 million. Family Healthcare started at 1 million and it was revised down to less than $500,000. Our staff is being tasked with a lot of work. We may do weeklong testing instead of five days. The police department is now helping in the building to assembly kits and on Sundays at the testing sites. The funding is there and our budget looks good. Part-time staff is working more but we will be reimbursed by CARES funding. We have asked to see if there is any chance it will roll over to January, we have heard no response otherwise so at this point, what we do not spend will roll back to the state and then maybe the federal government. The police department is volunteering to assist beyond their normal duties (during their personal time they cannot take vacation or sick time to assist).
Desi Fleming we are concerned that on December 31, 2020, we will no longer have funding for COVID support. We have had many resignations in our nursing department. The nursing job market has become more competitive. Challenge to keep people motivated and it is taxing on all of us. Our entire health department is feeling the strain; all health systems are feeling it. We wish the community would do better. We are in for long winter months if we cannot get this turned around. Overtime will pay for COVID specific duties. Part of the problem is sometimes people do not care about overtime they are just tired. We have had to do two all calls, which means we call in employees to work and it is mandatory.
The state helped with an automatic contact system for giving results for negatives so we are not using Blue Cross Blue Shield to assist with contact tracing.

Mask Mandate Discussion:
Lyn Telford asked about the mask mandate. Arlette Preston wants to do a mask mandate and if the Board of Health wants to voice support it would be welcomed. Two commissioners are anti-mask and the Mayor was not sure that a mandate would work especially without an enforcement piece. Arlette feels that if we ratchet up our concern level, it communicates the level of importance of wearing masks. Dr. Tracie Newman asked if there is value in sending a letter to the Mayor? The state source has communicated that there will be movement on this issue until after the election.
Rick Steen said you can send communication to the County Board but the agenda is set but it might start the conversation on the county level. Dr. Lako Adamson stated that out west in Bismarck and Minot there is a dire need for beds and there is not enough staff. The nursing homes out west have many positive cases so they are sending patients here. Sanford has just hired 75 more travel nurses. Lyn Telford says they are working to plug holes but it is not sustainable long term. Anti-smoke ban people were very vocal just like the anti-mask people but we have a duty to protect the majority over the vocal minority. We have to normalize mask wearing and empower folks to tell other to wear masks.
Rick Steen inquired about finding the source of cases in the community. Brenton Nesemeier stated that we have so much unmitigated spread, social gathering with friends, clusters at weddings, funerals, larger events. For schools and colleges, we can isolate them and quarantine them.
Lyn Telford made a motion to produce a letter for the Mayor and the commissioners from the Board of Health. Tracie Newman and Kayla Nelson seconded. Roll call vote:
Arlette Preston: aye
Kayla Nelson: aye
Lyn Telford: aye
Rick Steen: nay
Bernie Dardis: no longer present
Chelsey Matter: aye
Dr. Tracie Newman: aye
Amy LaValla: aye
Motion is passed and Chelsey will draft and send it to the members to contribute to the letter.
Arlette requested that the Board of Health should meet a little more frequently. Chelsey, Lyn, Kayla, Tracie all agreed. Rick Steen disagreed stating that a memo or email could serve the same purpose.
Desi Fleming stated that we would set up a special November meeting.

Next Meeting: December 18, 2020