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Public Health Week Observed in C. Oregon


As Public Health Week takes place across the nation, Crook County is jumping on board with the effort to create a healthier community.

Crook County Public Health Director Muriel DeLaVergne Brown was busy Wednesday morning. Her first stop was the county court, meeting to proclaim “Public Health Week.” She then traveled to Salem, where she sat on a panel to answer questions about public health.

Each day this week, the Crook County Health Department is holding activities emphasizing physical activity, emotional well-being, eating healthier and incorporating healthier living habits.

Their goal is to educate the community on the benefits of public health and what they are doing to improve the overall health in the area.

“With this being Public Health Week, it lets us sit back and take a look at, ‘What is public health?’,” said Karen Yeargain of the Crook County Health Department.

“Many people don’t have a concept of what we do. We’re one of those services that step in when something goes wrong, and when we step in to help are more visible,” said Yeargain.

Aside from combating disease the department’s efforts range from sexual assault awareness to suicide prevention.

The county has been hit by a recent outbreak of meningococcal disease. There have been no new cases in the past two months, but health officials say the county is still not out of the woods.

Young residents 9 months to 25 years old are most susceptible to contracting the disease and are urged to get vaccinated.

At this point, there is still no estimate on how much this recent outbreak will cost the county.

“Oregon Health Plan covers the vaccine. If someone has no insurance and is unable to afford the cost, then they can get that at the health department and the fee can be waived,” said Yeargain.

“We want the cost of the vaccine to not be a barrier for those in the target age groups,” said Yeargain.

As for the 5-year-old Bend girl who contracted meningococcal disease, the last NewsChannel21 heard, she is still in serious condition at OHSU in Portland. There have been no other cases reported in Deschutes County.

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