BY KARISSA MILLER
Iredell County Health Department staff presented the State of the County Health Report for 2022 during Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting.
Dinikia Savage, the Health Department’s promotion coordinator, told commissioners that the department continued working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 throughout 2022
Vaccinations, testing kits and transmission prevention resources were secured and distributed to the community throughout the year. Businesses, schools, child care centers and targeted populations were reached through outreach fairs and other methods.
Early in 2022, COVID-19 mini-clinics continued to be promoted within businesses, where the community health worker provided support.
“The COVID-19 community health worker also distributed thousands of masks and transmission prevention products to individuals in areas of high-vulnerable index, in rural areas and within the Hispanic population,” she said.
Savage told commissioners that the Health Development and promotion team worked to create effective COVID-19 campaigns like “Don’t Guess, Take a Test” and “Be Wise & Immunize.”
Suicide Prevention Efforts
In May of 2022, the Health Department offered mental health 101 training. The outreach effort focused on youth suicide prevention and reducing the stigma of mental illness.
More than 40 community leaders, including nurses, guidance counselors, coaches, health teachers and social workers, attended this training.
In October 2022, additional training was offered to help recognize the warning signs of suicide and offer guidance for helping those at risk. Thirty community members from various organizations participated.
Emerging Health Issues
Savage closed by sharing information about several emerging health issues:
• Monkeypox (MPox) was closely monitored during the global outbreak. Only one case was reported in 2022 in Iredell County.
• Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) steadily increased in 2022. The virus is usually more common during the winter; however, in 2022, there was a high number of cases in the summer and fall.
• In 2022, there were 17 confirmed rabies cases of rabies in Iredell County, compared to 15 in 2021.
• Syphilis was a growing concern in 2022 with 44 reported cases in Iredell County, including two congenital cases.