Jackson County Health Department awarded for its efforts during the pandemic

Katelyn Waltemyer
Jackson Newspapers
The award presentation was at the top of Wednesday's commission meeting agenda.

Several of Jackson County's Health Department employees have been working every day since March of last year. Since the pandemic began, the priority for the department has been to help people in the community feel safe. Now, the department is being recognized for its efforts. 

At Wednesday's Jackson County Commissioners meeting, Jackson County's Health Department was given an award for its efforts during the pandemic. 

The West Virginia Association of Counties awarded the health department for its efforts.

Jackson County's Clerk Cheryl Bright presented the award and spoke mostly about how the health department's role in curbside voting allowed 35 people who were quarantining to vote in November.

Health department employees geared up in PPE and served ballots curbside on election day. With N-95 masks and gloves on, Haskins gave ballots to voters and returned them to the Jackson County Courthouse after they were filled out.

More:It's a 'personal choice': Ripley Mayor says it's up to participants if they social distance or wear masks

More:Who let the dogs, goats and chickens out on the courthouse lawn?

Bright said she was impressed at how Jackson County's Health Department employees went "above and beyond" what was asked of them. Haskins said they were just doing their part. 

"We didn't want them to miss out on their opportunity to vote," Haskins said. "We were blessed with the ability to be a part of that day." 

Jackson County Health Department gives COVID-19 update

Haskins presented several updates after receiving the award for outstanding service. Here are the numbers:

  • 11,422 doses of vaccines were administered in the county from Jan. 1 to June 7
  • There have been 42 vaccine clinics from Jan 1 to June 7
  • The department provided more than 44 testing sites from April to December in 2020
  • Three of the health department's employees worked a combined 415 hours of overtime per month on average from March 2020 to June 2021

"No wonder we're so tired," Haskins said. 

Despite the growing number of vaccinated people, Haskins said her department is expecting an increase in COVID-19 cases in the fall with schools opening back up and people returning from vacations. She said the delta variant is "on its way" to West Virginia. 

— Katelyn Waltemyer (she/her) is the General Assignment and Enterprise Reporter for Jackson Newspapers in Jackson County, West Virginia. Have a news tip on local government or education? Or a good feature? You can reach Katelyn at kwaltemyer@jacksonnewspapers.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kate_Waltemyer.