Health Department Set to Distribute Car Seats

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The Belmont County Health Department has been asked to take over a program that provides car seats to area families.

Linda Mehl, director of nursing, said the department managed the program until 2012, when East Ohio Regional Hospital and Ohio Valley Medical Center assumed responsibility for the project. However, the recent closure of the two hospitals left the local project in limbo.

She told Belmont County Board of Health members Monday that the department will have two people trained for the car seat program and will collaborate with the Cumberland Trail Fire Department, which also will have a person trained, she said. The Stark County Health Department administers the initiative.

Belmont County will get 64 car seats a year to distribute, she said. The department will train clients in the proper use of the child safety devices and will conduct car seat checks.

In other matters, Robert Sproul, deputy health commissioner, said the department is in the process of conducting a community health assessment for Belmont County and is seeking input from underserved areas. “We’re trying to get as much data as to what the public thinks are health issues,” he said.

The department must submit its assessment reports for the state-required accreditation process by March 7. “We hope to get done in January. We’ve hit a few snags with staffing issues and general workload,” Sproul said.

Asked about meeting the deadline for accreditation, he said, “We should be able to make it. … We’re focusing on getting it done.”

Dr. George L. Cholak, county health commissioner, said two births and 42 deaths occurred in Belmont County in November. For the year to date, 13 births and 533 deaths have been reported.

Board President Elizabeth Glick and members Joel Braido, Dr. Renato DelaCruz, James King and Irene Louda attended the monthly meeting. Board member Dwight Jenewein was absent.

The board’s next meeting will be held at noon Jan. 13 at the health department, 68501 Bannock Road, St. Clairsville.


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