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Health dept. funds promote smoke-free law

By Shavonne Potts
spotts@salisburypost.com
In just a couple months, restaurants and bars in North Carolina will go smoke free.
More than 150 businesses, restaurants and bars in Rowan County have already enforced the new law, even though it isn’t in effect until Jan. 2.
The N.C. Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch has awarded Rowan County and other local health departments funds to aid with implementing the new state smoke-free restaurant/bar law.
The Rowan County Health Department’s share of the money is $2,851. The allocation was approved Tuesday during the Board of Health meeting. The money will be used for education and promotion of the new law.
The money will also buy drink coasters for local restaurants to educate the public about the law.
The money must be used by May 31.
Board Chairwoman Barbara Andrews questioned whether that was enough money for coasters.
Steve Joslin, with the Smoke Free Rowan program, said about $450 would be used to buy coasters that would go to local restaurants. The rest of the funds will be for printing material to promote the new law.
– The health department will receive $39,920 for the remainder of the 2009-10 fiscal year through its WIC program.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, known as WIC, received a per participant rate increase from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Resources.
The rate increase is from $13.75 to $15. The increase is based on the county’s current base caseload of 3,761 participants.
“The good news is we have additional funds for clients. The bad news is we have a significant caseload,” said Health Director Leonard Wood.
The department can use these funds for contracted service staff to help alleviate the caseload.
– The health department received $301,601 from the federal government and the Centers for Disease Contorl and Prevention to be used for implementing a mass H1N1 vaccination campaign.
The funds will pay contracted services and tracking and ancillary supplies, among other things.
The health department hopes to have another H1N1 clinic. They also hope to have another seasonal flu clinic.
The health department has about 450 doses remaining for seasonal flu, said Nurse Manager Sharon Owen.
“We anticipate more clinics. We are also working with the schools to do some after hours clinics,” Owen said.
The Tuesday meeting was the final meeting of the year. The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 12.

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