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County health department settling in to new home

Staff writer

After a couple weeks in its new location beside St. Luke Hospital, the county health department is finding itself feeling right at home.

“I think being located by a medical facility is a great thing,” administrator Diedre Serene said. “It doesn’t have to be that way, but I think people do prefer to come out here, away from Main St. People understand there’s a sense of privacy here.”

The department left its former headquarters at the historic Bowron building on Main St. in the middle of April. The move had been a topic of conversation with county commissioners for months.

Initial concerns were the purchase of a backup generator to keep operational a refrigerator that holds $37,000 worth of vaccines and medicine in the event of a storm. The generator, which would have cost around $10,000 at the old facility, could be hooked up for around $500 in the former physician’s clinic at St. Luke.

The move was discussed in meetings as a temporary relocation until a permanent solution could be reached. Serene said her staff of three full-time employees and four part-timers is happy with the relocation. She understands, however, that the matter is out of her hands.

“The main decision will be up to commissioners,” she said.

Another aspect of switching facilities was the possibility of expanding operations. Serene said the department will look into the possibility of altering its programming once it’s fully acclimated to conducting normal operations in the new facility.

“The staff is finding that some procedures, just because of the arrangement here, have to be changed,” she said. “For the most part, though, the staff has liked the move.”

She said the phone number and fax number for the department are the same as they were in the old building. The only change, she said, is the address, which changed to 504 S. Roosevelt St.

Last modified May 7, 2015

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