Public Health working to improve vaccination record

By Clay Schuldt

Staff Writer

NEW ULM – Public Health Director Karen Mortiz updated the Brown County Commissioners Tuesday on vaccination efforts in the county.

Recently, Public Health completed an Adolescent Vaccination Clinic. In April 345 students were vaccinated. Mortiz said the greatest success was with students entering the 7th grade.

New regulations require students entering 7th grade to receive certain vaccinations. A significant increase occurred for students aged 13-17 who received the meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) booster. Mortiz explained that the vaccine protects against a form of meningitis that is easily transmitted and can be fatal. Public Health highly recommends the vaccination for college bound students.

Mortiz admitted she had hope for a greater uptake in vaccinations, saying Public Health was only able to reach 15 percent of the populations in grades 6th through 12th. Part of the difficulty is advertising the vaccinations among high school students. The Department is working on methods to maximize communication with Brown County youth.

On the positive side, Mortiz informed commissioners that Brown County continues to have one of the highest childhood immunization rates in Minnesota. Brown County has a greater than 80 percent immunization rates for children ages 24-36 months. This is above the state average, which is currently at 62.9 percent.

Later in the meeting, Mortiz provided the board with information on Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) corona-virus. To date, there have been two cases of MERS infections being detected in the United States. The virus is associated with respiratory illness and high death rates, but symptoms do vary from patient to patient. There is no vaccine yet available and no specific treatment recommended for the virus. Mortiz stated there is no need for alarm regarding MERS, but the Public Health will be continue to monitor the virus and is recommending testing for patients with signs or symptoms that have recently worked or traveled in the Middle East region.

A revised School Health Contract was approved for the 2014-2015 school year. The major change from last year was an increase of $38 per hour to $40 per hour for nursing time.

The 2014 South Country Health Alliance (SCHA)and Brown County delegation agreement was approved by the Commissioners. The agreement outlines the responsibilities of work Brown County performs in partnership with SCHA.

Planning and Zoning

Two Conditional Use Permits (CUP) came before the Commissioner. The permits had previously been approved by Brown County Planning and Zoning. The first request came from Kurt, Robert and Nick Kratz for the expansion of an existing hog finishing operation in a Agriculture District. This would include the construction of a new 100-foot by 102-foot barn with a 100-foot by 102-foot by eight-foot deep concrete pit. The second CUP was requested by Kurt and Janice Kratz for the purpose of renewing an existing CUP to continue to allow the maximum of 800 head hog in finishing and 20,000 head turkey in an Agriculture district. Both CUPs were approved on conditions recommended by Planning and Zoning.

Highway Engineering

Highway Engineer Wayne Stevens requested a series of drainage repairs totaling $4,036, which was approved by the Board. In addition, the board approved the replacement of four office chairs at the Highway Department at a cost of $1,600.

A quote from Overhead Door Co. of Mankato was accepted to replace four office counter doors with motorized counter doors in the amount of $13,590. These four doors would replace deteriorating roll-up counter doors that were originally installed in 1968. The cost of the replacement will be handled by the Recorder’s Special Account.

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