BOARD OF HEALTH
November 3, 2005
The regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Board of Health of the Township of Mahwah, held at the Municipal Offices, 475 Corporate Drive, Mahwah, New Jersey, was called to order at 8:03 PM by President, Wendy DeSilva. The Opening Statement was read according to the Sunshine Law and was followed by Roll Call.
PRESENT: Mrs. DeSilva
ABSENT: Mr. Ackerman
PROFESSIONALS: Mr. Mason, Attorney
Mr. Hopper, Health Officer
Mr. Ostrow, REHS
Mrs. Campbell, Secretary
APPROVAL OF REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
Moved by Mr. Wasson and, seconded by Mrs. Spiech and, agreed by all present, the minutes of the meeting of October 6, 2005 were approved.
APPROVAL OF HEALTH ACTIVITIES REPORT
Moved by Mr. LaMontagne and, seconded by Mrs. Tracey, that the Health Activities Report be approved.
Mrs. Spiech inquired if there has been an increase in cases of Hepatitis C and, if so, was this increase in the juvenile population? Mr. Hopper replied that statewide, there has been an increase in reported cases and, a majority of these cases are contracted through illegal drug use. A movement toward needle exchange in New Jersey goes back and forth at the state level, largely because it is so controversial. Mrs. DeSilva asked which states participated in needle exchange programs. Mr. Hopper did not have that particular information at hand. He stated however, that statistical evidence demonstrates a clear reduction in transmission of blood borne disease in areas where these programs exist.
Mrs. DeSilva was curious as to the effect these programs have on illegal drug use. Mr. Hopper replied that opponents of needle exchange argue it encourages the behavior; proponents are focused on reducing disease transmission.
Regarding one of the abatement notices, Mrs. DeSilva requested that Mr. Ostrow identify the liquid that a resident was discharging onto his neighbor’s property. Mr. Ostrow stated that waste water from a French drain was creating a nuisance on a newly cleared lot. At the time the notice was written, Mr. Ostrow did not have full access to the property and, was unable to determine what specific liquid was being discharged.
Mr. Harris asked Mr. Ostrow about the duration of the meetings the inspectors had attended, both this month and in general. Mr. Ostrow stated that most were ½ day or full day programs (not an hour or two) and most were required for Continuing Education Units. Mr. Hopper added that in addition to the CEU’s necessary to maintain his Inspector’s license, Mr. Ostrow is also the Deputy Registrar and requires CEU’s specific to his registrar certification.
Mrs. DeSilva noted a marked increase in the number of food establishments inspected this month. Mr. Ostrow acknowledged that he and Mrs. Homler are able to accomplish more of these inspections once the seasonal pool and camp seasons end. He added that there is also a typical reduction in the number of resident complaints received in the fall as compared to the summer months; this also affords additional time to concentrate on the food establishments.
There being no further questions or discussion, the Health Activities Report was unanimously approved.
APPROVAL OF HEALTH OFFICER’S REPORT
Moved by Mr. Harris and, seconded by Mrs. Tracey, that the Health Officer’s Report be approved.
Mrs. Spiech inquired how many flu shots were ultimately given at the annual clinic. Mr. Hopper related that based on the number of syringes we used, approximately 770 shots were administered; far in excess of any clinic we had sponsored before. In the past, our clinics have served on average, 500 to 550 participants. Mr. Hopper believes this increase is due, in part, to the fact that physician’s are not ordering vaccine or unable to obtain it and are therefore directing their patients to public health suppliers.
FFF Enterprises (Chiron) failed to deliver their portion of our vaccine order in time. Fortunately, Mr. Hopper was able to borrow enough vaccine to cover the shortage, and we were able to accommodate every resident who came to the clinic.
Mr. Hopper gratefully acknowledged Mr. Wasson, Mrs. Spiech and Mrs. DeSilva for volunteering their time and services. The group discussed several points where we could improve the “flow” of the clinic ie. pre-filling more syringes in advance.
Mr. LaMontagne wanted to know if there was any vaccine left for emergency services personnel. Mr. Hopper replied no; our entire supply was exhausted at the clinic.
Mrs. Spiech asked Mr. Hopper to update the Board on the state of avian flu preparations. Mr. Hopper responded that the President is directing that liability protections be put in place for the manufacturers of vaccine. Presumably, this will encourage production. On a federal level, negotiations are taking place with several companies but, the forecast for production is probably five years out.
Mr. Harris noted that, since the virus has yet to mutate, the manufacturers cannot even know what antiviral will be required. Mr. Hopper agreed, adding that effective containment may end up being the most viable method of preventing a pandemic. The use of Tamiflu will lessen symptoms and save lives, but the present rush to stock up today is probably futile; current supply will reach its expiry date before the virus is even forecast to mutate.
Public health officials will continue to encourage Universal Respiratory Health precautions ie. wearing of masks when in contact with sick persons or in crowds, effective hand-washing practices etc.
Mr. Hopper advised the Board that Mrs. Campbell had received her Municipal Registrar’s Certificate and the members offered their congratulations.
Mr. Wasson was aware of a surveillance program in New York City that supplied contemporaneous statistics of drugs being dispensed and asked if New Jersey had a similar program. Mr. Ostrow replied that Bergen County utilizes such a program as part of its bio-terrorism preparedness. Mr. Hopper added that hospital admissions, emergency room visits, even the sales of some over the counter medications are monitored in real time by both the state and the county.
Moved by Mr. LaMontagne and, seconded by Mr. Wasson and, unanimously agreed by all present to pay the bills for October.
REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEES
REPORT OF ATTORNEY
Mr. Mason had no report, but apprised the members of a newsitem he had seen on CNN; the World Health Organization is forecasting the mutation of the avian flu virus and (possible) resulting pandemic in 5 years.
2nd QUARTER REPORT, BERGEN COMMUNITY HEALTH CARE
Mrs. Spiech is concerned that we may be under-serving our black and American Indian populations. She noted that no diabetes tests or weight assessments had been made for these groups. Mr. Hopper stated that these services are available to all groups at all the clinics; the historical challenge has been encouraging this demographic to take advantage of them. Mr. Ostrow suggested that changing the venue from the old Salvation Army Building to the Community Center at the Ramapo Brae Development might encourage greater participation.
10/18/2006 From: Acting Governor Codey To: John Hopper and
10/26/2005 From: Assemblyman O’Toole To: John Hopper
Both in response to our Resolution 05-15 (in support of Assembly Bill 3730, New Jersey’s Clean Air Act)
(Mr. Hopper noted that Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg had also responded to our Resolution. She personally relayed to Mr. Hopper she is confident the Bill will pass, if not in the lame duck session of the Legislature, then in early 2006.)
HEALTH DEPARTMENT BUDGET PROPOSAL FOR 2006
Mrs. DeSilva commended the thoroughness and clarity of the proposal.
Mr. Harris questioned the line item for typewriter maintenance contracts; were we still using typewriters? Mr. Hopper explained there was still no better means of producing a marriage license on
the state issued, four part NCR form.
Mrs. Spiech requested additional information on the assistance we provide relative to pregnancy outcomes. Mr. Hopper related that we have contacts with local obstetricians. If needed, they can request our assistance in following up on a problem pregnancy. We do this by directing our public health nurses to intervene by visiting the patient. This is one of the activities mandated by the state.
Mrs. DeSilva registered a concern with Mr. Hopper over the fumes being emitted by the Sally Hansen facility (formerly Crompton and Knolls) on MacArthur Boulevard. Mr. Ostrow explained that the activated carbon filters in use by the company were probably overdue for replacement. He will contact the company and direct them to replace the filters. Mr. Hopper suggested that Mr. Ostrow visit the facility in person to determine if any of their manufacturing processes have changed recently.
Mr. Ostrow noted that when this tenant application originally came before our Department, we cautioned the Planning Board that fumes and odors could prove to be a nuisance to the residents. Our comments however, are not binding and the application was approved. He further explained that whenever an air inversion situation occurs, we receive more complaints.
There being no further business or discussion, a motion to adjourn at 8:35pm was made by Mr. LaMontagne, seconded by Mr. Harris and, approved by all present.
The next meeting is scheduled for December 1, 2005.