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Public Health Information

LCHD provides information on public health issues and public health functions through multiple methods to a variety of audiences. LCHD actively seeks opportunites for two-way communication with the public to drive innovation and inform public health planning.

News and Press Releases


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 08/27/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 09/10/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) invites you to participate in our 13th annual Pink Strides for Breast Cancer Awareness Walk - virtually - on Saturday, October 17! Register for 2020's Pink Strides 1-mile walk for Breast Cancer and support Licking County's Screening and Survivor Support (SASS) program. SASS helps provide financial and social support to those affected by breast cancer and helps individuals receive necessary breast health screenings. Registration: General Ticket ($20) includes a t-shirt and a raffle entry! Survivor Ticket ($15) includes a t-shirt, survivor pin, and a raffle entry! All proceeds stay local and go towards supporting the Licking County Screening and Survivor Support (SASS) program. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 08/27/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) and Licking County Safe Communities Coalition, through support from State Farm®, is challenging Licking County high school students to create a public service announcement (PSA) billboard to educate their peers about teen driver safety. The winning design will be displayed on a local billboard and the creator will be awarded $500. Motor-vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teens. The goal of the contest is to raise awareness leading up to National Teen Driver Safety Week, October 18 through 24. The contest requires students to create their own billboard design with a PSA for teen driver safety and includes one of the following areas of teen driver safety: seat belts, distracted driving, speed, and peer pressure. The billboard design can be created using whatever media they are most comfortable with, including graphic design, drawing, painting, photography, etc. When using facts and statistics, students should use credible sources (i.e. teendriversource.org, safecar.gov), or through their own research. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 08/25/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) invites you to wear purple in support of International Drug Overdose Awareness Day on Monday August 31, 2020. International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on August 31st each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. From January 1, 2020 through May 31, 2020, Licking County has had 18 overdose fatalities. Show your community support by posting a photo of you, your family, your friends, or your business wearing purple on social media by using the hashtag #PurpleLCfightingOD. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 08/21/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) is now providing new data in our daily COVID-19 report listed on our website and our social media channels and is reporting more localized data in the Licking County Health Jurisdiction to better focus on our residents. LCHD has transitioned from reporting Ohio Department of Health's (ODH) county-wide boundary data to Licking County Health Jurisdiction data. This updated way of reporting the local Licking County Health Jurisdiction data will better focus on the Licking County residents whom we serve at LCHD. Licking County Health Jurisdiction vs. Ohio Department of Health’s County-wide Reporting ODH's COVID-19 Dashboard reports cases by county boundaries and not by health jurisdiction boundaries. Portions of Licking County are served by Franklin County Public Health based on tax jurisdiction and contractual agreements, including portions of Reynoldsburg and New Albany. If a resident would test positive for COVID-19 in one of these areas, then the public health department in Franklin County would manage that case, even if they reside in Licking County. New Classification: Closed LCHD has added a new classification of COVID-19 cases, named “Closed.” Cases of individuals with COVID-19 who LCHD is unable to contact after numerous attempts, and 30 days past diagnosis are put into the "Closed" category. Since our staff members are unable to verify these cases are recovered, they cannot be classified as “recovered.” Being classified as a “closed” case removes them from the "active" category. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 08/17/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – This time of year and during the upcoming Labor Day weekend, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will join Licking County Health Department’s (LCHD) Safe Communities Coalition to spread the word about the dangers of impaired driving and work together to get drunk drivers off the road. The high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs from August 19 through September 7, 2020. During this period, local law enforcement will show zero tolerance for drunk driving. Increased state and national messages about the dangers of drunk driving, coupled with law enforcement and increased officers on the road, aim to drastically reduce drunk driving on our nation’s roadways. Sadly, the statistics prove that we have a lot of work to do to put an end to drunk driving. During 2019 in Licking County, 46 percent of all fatal crashes involved a driver impaired by drugs and/or alcohol. From January to July of 2020 in Licking County, 60 percent of all fatal crashes involved impairment. In fact, since 2017, Licking County has had 77 crashes involving an impaired driver. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 08/17/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) practices an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control. This includes trapping for adults, dipping for larvae, treating standing water with larvicide, draining breeding sites when possible, and spraying to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. LCHD sprays to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. Mosquito spraying occurs with weather permitting during dusk hours from an LCHD marked vehicle. This week's mosquito spraying schedule includes: Monday, August 17: Village of Granville and Park trails Subdivision; Wednesday, August 19: Village of Alexandria; Thursday, August 20: Buckeye Lake KOA and Kirkersville. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 08/11/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) practices an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control. This includes trapping for adults, dipping for larvae, treating standing water with larvicide, draining breeding sites when possible, and spraying to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. LCHD sprays to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. Mosquito spraying occurs with weather permitting during dusk hours from an LCHD marked vehicle. This week's mosquito spraying schedule includes Wednesday, August 12: Village of Alexandria; Thursday, August 13: Buckeye Lake KOA, Kirkersville, Ramp Creek Mobile Home Park More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/27/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) practices an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control. This includes trapping for adults, dipping for larvae, treating standing water with larvicide, draining breeding sites when possible, and spraying to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. LCHD sprays to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. Mosquito spraying occurs with weather permitting during dusk hours from an LCHD marked vehicle. This week's mosquito spraying schedule includes Monday, July 27: Etna (Jardin Manor, Cumberland Trails, Mayflower, Russel Heights, Royal Acres, Cumberland Crossing and Ballman Road); Wednesday, July 29: Village of Granville, Village of Alexandria; Thursday, July 30: Buckeye Lake KOA, Kirkersville, Ramp Creek Mobile Home Park. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/23/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) has been working to ensure that residents of long-term care facilities in Licking County receive the safest care and public health protection possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, long term care populations like assisted living facilities and nursing homes are one of the most vulnerable to the virus, and unfortunately, outbreaks do occur frequently in these environments. Newark Care and Rehabilitation Center, located on McMillen Drive in Newark, reported such an outbreak to LCHD and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) beginning July 1, 2020. As of Wednesday, July 22, LCHD and ODH are reporting 59 residents at Newark Care and Rehabilitation Center who are actively ill and testing positive for COVID-19 (this includes confirmed, suspected, and probable cases of the virus). In addition, 32 employees of the facility have tested positive for COVID-19 (also including confirmed, suspected, and probable cases reported to ODH). Sadly, 11 residents have died as a result of the COVID-19 virus. Please note that not all of these COVID-19 deaths have been accounted for on the daily ODH report as of today. LCHD has provided Newark Care and Rehabilitation’s administrative team with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Ohio Department of Health. Additionally, LCHD has provided the facility with personal protection equipment (PPE) and COVID-19 testing supplies. Newark Care and Rehabilitation Center staff are continuing to work to make sure the facility’s staff and residents are properly protected, including meeting their crucial PPE needs. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/21/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) practices an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control. This includes trapping for adults, dipping for larvae, treating standing water with larvicide, draining breeding sites when possible, and spraying to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. LCHD sprays to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. Mosquito spraying occurs with weather permitting during dusk hours from an LCHD marked vehicle. This week's mosquito spraying schedule includes: Tuesday, July 21: Newark: Derby Downs, Hudson, Little Texas, Park Trails, and the Buckeye Avenue Area; Wednesday, July 22: Village of Alexandria; Thursday, July 23: Buckeye Lake KOA and Kirkersville. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/16/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – Today, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) announced that Licking County has been upgraded to a Level Three ("Red") category on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System. The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) has been tracking an increase in COVID-19 cases in the county over the past month. These alert levels are based off new cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases for at least five days, proportion of cases not in a congregate setting, sustained increase in emergency room visits, sustained increase in outpatient visits, sustained increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, and intensive care unit bed occupancy percentage. A Level Three ("Red") classification means there is severe exposure and spread in the county. Citizens should limit their activities as much as possible. They should continue to follow all standard precautions and health orders. Face coverings are mandated by Governor DeWine in all counties ranked at Level Three ("Red") and Level Four ("Purple") in the Ohio Public Health Advisory Alerting System. The requirement to wear a facial covering shall continue for a county identified in the Order until that county no longer is designated at Level Three ("Red") or Level Four ("Purple"). More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/14/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department’s (LCHD) Safe Communities Coalition reports eight crash fatalities in the county during the second quarter of 2020 (April 1st to June 30th). Of the eight fatalities in the first quarter, four involved a motorist impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. Also, five fatalities also involved the drivers and/or passengers not utilizing safety equipment (seat belts or motorcycle helmets). During this same time frame last year, there were also eight reported fatal crashes. “Though we are seeing a decrease in traffic fatalities in 2020, a troubling development is the frequency of drivers driving reckless or impaired,” said Jon Kraus, Safe Communities Coordinator at LCHD. So far during 2020 in Licking County, six out of the seven total fatalities occurred in crashes involving a driver impaired by drugs and/or alcohol. Similarly, six out of the seven fatalities also involved the drivers/passengers not wearing their seat belts or motorcycle helmets. “It’s vital people understand the danger they put themselves in when they drive intoxicated by alcohol and/or drugs. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that marijuana, alcohol, and other drugs reduce the function of the brain, impairing thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination. You simply cannot drive safely if you are impaired. Though many of us are staying safe and staying home, you cannot forget that you must have a sober driver for the times you go out no matter what you are doing or where you are going. You can designate a sober driver, call a taxi, use a ride sharing service, or many other options. Do not put yourself and others at risk because you make the wrong decision to drive impaired,” concluded Kraus. The Safe Communities Coalition and local law enforcement will continue efforts to decrease fatalities by reminding everyone to Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and to Click It or Ticket. Although simple, these initiatives act as reminders for drivers to make smart decisions and that alcohol is not the only substance that can impact driving. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/13/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) practices an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control. This includes trapping for adults, dipping for larvae, treating standing water with larvicide, draining breeding sites when possible, and spraying to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. LCHD sprays to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. Mosquito spraying occurs with weather permitting during dusk hours from an LCHD marked vehicle. This week's mosquito spraying schedule includes: Monday, July 13: Harrison Township, Wednesday, July 15: Village of Alexandria, Thursday, July 16: Buckeye Lake KOA, Kirkersville, Ramp Creek Mobile Home Park. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/10/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – Today, the Licking County Health Department (LCHD) published a new COVID-19 Epidemiology Report on our website. The report breaks down data for active COVID-19 cases by city/village and zip code for both the last 30 days and the last 7 days (as of today, July 10). It also explains the difference between COVID cases reported in Licking County Health's jurisdiction as compared to county-wide reported cases (as reported by ODH). The report has data and numbers on hospitalizations, deaths, and recovered cases. It also includes data about contact tracing - including how many individuals are isolated, quarantined, and tested negative in Licking County. In order to develop this epidemiological report, we made it a point to listen to what information and data Licking County residents wanted to know most about COVID-19 in our community. The report will be updated weekly. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/07/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) is closely following the guidance from the Ohio Department of Health and the Governor’s Office in regard to safety recommendations related to COVID-19. While LCHD historically offers our Change Gears | Ride a Bike event each summer to Licking County residents, this year we are modifying the event by addressing the needs of our community while understanding the risk of virus transmission. On Saturday, July 25, the Licking County Health Department (LCHD) invites Licking County residents to our modified Change Gears | Ride a Bike event! We encourage Licking Countians to get outside and use the bicycle paths on Saturday, July 25 as an open ride, so you may choose your own distance and pace. Check-in virtually anytime by posting a selfie on social media and using the hashtag #ChangeGears2020. Those who participate with a photo and hashtag on Saturday, July 25 will be entered into a raffle with the chance to win free bicycle accessories. Winners will be announced via social media on July 29. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/01/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – This Independence Day, Licking County Health Department’s (LCHD) Safe Communities Coalition and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) want to remind drivers to Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. Make sure you celebrate the birth of our nation safely. If you are under the influence of any substance and you choose to get behind the wheel of a vehicle, you put everyone in a vehicle on the road in danger, including yourself. During the Fourth of July holiday, make sure you plan for a safe weekend. According to NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, drunk driving accounted for 29 percent (10,511) of motor vehicle traffic crash deaths in 2018. With Fourth of July festivities wrapping up in the evening or late at night, more vehicles will be on the road at night. In 2018 alone, 193 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes over the July 4th holiday period. Forty percent (78) of those fatalities occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. This compares to 2017 when 38 percent of the July 4 holiday period fatalities occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 06/30/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) practices an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control. This includes trapping for adults, dipping for larvae, treating standing water with larvicide, draining breeding sites when possible, and spraying to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. LCHD sprays to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. Mosquito spraying occurs with weather permitting during dusk hours from an LCHD marked vehicle. This week's mosquito spraying schedule includes: Tuesday, June 30: Village of Alexandria, Etna (Zellers, Pepper Tree, Orchard Glen, Cumberland Trails/Crossing); Wednesday, July 1: Pataskala; Thursday, July 2: Granville Village, Buckeye Lake KOA, Ramp Creek Mobile Home Park, Green Meadows Mobile Home Park, and Kirkersville. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 06/23/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) has expanded Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing to include all Licking County residents regardless of being symptomatic or asymptomatic. LCHD is offering a weekly drive-through testing clinic at an off-site location beginning this Thursday, June 25 and continuing each Thursday thereafter. To reserve a time slot for the clinic, residents must call LCHD at (740) 349-6535. LCHD public health nurses will administer a COVID-19 nasal swab test to any-aged Licking County resident while they remain in their vehicles. LCHD will call patients with test results within 2-3 days. For individuals who are confirmed as a positive COVID-19 case, LCHD’s public health workers will begin contact tracing and determining close contacts of the individual. COVID-19 tests offered by LCHD are free, however clinic attendees will be required to download and complete our form prior to testing and bring it along with a photo ID and their insurance card to the clinic appointment. Completing and printing the form prior to attending the clinic will assist with making the testing process quicker. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 06/22/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) practices an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control. This includes trapping for adults, dipping for larvae, treating standing water with larvicide, draining breeding sites when possible, and spraying to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. LCHD sprays to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. Mosquito spraying occurs with weather permitting during dusk hours from an LCHD marked vehicle. This week's mosquito spraying schedule includes: Wednesday, June 24: Village of Alexandria; Thursday, June 25: Buckeye Lake KOA and Kirkersville. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 06/15/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) practices an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control. This includes trapping for adults, dipping for larvae, treating standing water with larvicide, draining breeding sites when possible, and spraying to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. LCHD sprays to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. Mosquito spraying occurs with weather permitting during dusk hours from an LCHD marked vehicle. This week's mosquito spraying schedule includes: Monday, June 15: Buckeye Lake KOA, Wednesday, June 17: Village of Alexandria, Thursday, June 18: Buckeye Lake KOA, Kirkersville, Ramp Creek Mobile Home Park. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 06/10/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – Go BIG, donate now! The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) is a local, non-profit participant in The Big Give donation rally hosted by The Columbus Foundation. Donate to LCHD now through tomorrow (Thursday, June 11) at 11:00 am and your gift will be amplified! During this 25-hour online giving event, your donation to LCHD will be boosted, thanks to a $1.5 million+ Bonus Pool provided by The Columbus Foundation and corporate and community partners, the largest in Big Give history! Further, all credit card fees will be covered by the Foundation, so 100 percent of your donations go to LCHD. Click HERE to help us prevent disease, protect the environment, and promote healthy lifestyles in Licking County. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 06/09/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) is now offering Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing to Licking County residents who are exhibiting symptoms and meet Ohio Department of Health’s (ODH) priority group 1 or 2 (more guidance below). Testing will be administered in a “drive-through” style by LCHD public health nurses at an off-site location this Friday, June 12. Residents may call (740) 349-6535 to determine if testing is appropriate and reserve a time slot. There is no cost for COVID-19 tests offered by LCHD. Licking County Health Commissioner Chad Brown says, “LCHD continues advocating to open testing priorities to all county residents but was recently informed that the ODH lab does not have the capacity to meet the testing demand at this time. We are hopeful that we will be able to offer testing to additional priority groups soon." More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 06/08/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) practices an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control. This includes trapping for adults, dipping for larvae, treating standing water with larvicide, draining breeding sites when possible, and spraying to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. LCHD sprays to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. Mosquito spraying occurs with weather permitting during dusk hours from an LCHD marked vehicle. This week's mosquito spraying schedule includes: Monday, June 8: Buckeye Lake KOA, Tamarack Rd in Newark, Village of Granville, Granville Township; Tuesday, June 9: Harrison Township; Wednesday, June 10: Alexandria; Thursday, June 11: Etna, Buckeye Lake KOA. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 05/22/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) in cooperation with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announce that Ohio businesses and residents affected by the severe storms and flooding on March 20-22, 2020 can apply for low-interest disaster loans. The loans were made available in response to a letter from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on May 21, requesting a disaster declaration by the SBA. The declaration covers Licking County and the adjacent counties of Coshocton, Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Knox, Muskingum and Perry in Ohio. Survivors should contact SBA Customer Service Representatives at (571) 422-1925, (571) 422-6016 or (404) 909-1535 to schedule a virtual appointment for immediate one-on-one assistance in completing their Electronic Loan Application (ELA). In addition, requests for SBA disaster loan program information may be obtained by emailing FOCE-Help@sba.gov. These services are only available for the Ohio disaster declaration as a result of the Severe Storms and Flooding on March 20-22, 2020, and not for COVID-19 related assistance. The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is July 20, 2020. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Feb. 22, 2021. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 05/14/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – Thanks to a partnership between the Licking County Health Department’s Creating Healthy Communities (CHC) Program, the Licking County Area Transportation Study (LCATS), the City of Newark, and the Canal Market District (CMD), two new crosswalks have been added on 2nd and 3rd Street at the Canal Market District in downtown Newark. The two new crosswalks create a safe and visible point for crossing and accessing the market along with other nearby attractions. Easy access to healthy foods is essential in helping people choose healthier options for both eating and transportation. The Canal Market District is located at 36 E. Canal Street, Newark with operating hours of 4:00-7:00pm Tuesday & Friday. Fridays: May – October, Tuesdays: June-September. See CMD's Facebook page or website to see what items are available at the market and to follow their social distancing guidelines. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 05/01/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – Today, the Licking County Health Department (LCHD) is reporting 118 positive test results for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Licking County, in addition, 3 patients are classified as probable* COVID-19 cases. Of this data, 81 individuals are classified as recovered**. There are 5 reported COVID-19 deaths*** in Licking County. Today, Governor Mike DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Health's "Stay Safe Ohio Order" will replace the previous "Stay at Home" order, which expires at 11:59 p.m. tonight. The Ohio Department of Health’s new order was posted to the state's website, laying out the extended requirements and restrictions. This order incorporates the openings of businesses and services announced as part of the Responsible RestartOhio plan. Ohio Department of Health Director, Dr. Amy Acton has issued the updated "Stay Safe Ohio" order that reopens businesses, with exceptions, and continues a stay healthy and safe at home order. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 04/24/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) continues to partner with Licking County schools during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to best protect their students, staff members, and community members. This includes providing support to school leaders regarding their upcoming graduation ceremonies. Based on guidance issued by the Ohio Department of Education, and in the interest of protecting public health, LCHD recommends that all 2020 graduation ceremonies be conducted virtually. LCHD does not advise schools to hold in-person graduation ceremonies, virtual events will reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus among students and attendees. In addition, an in-person ceremony would violate the current Stay-at-Home order issued by Ohio Department of Health Director, Dr. Amy Acton. LCHD understands the importance of graduation ceremonies and realizes that the recommendation to hold ceremonies virtually rather than in-person could be disappointing to many Licking County students and their families. However, it is important to continue implementing proper social distancing measures to limit the number of people exposed to the virus. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 04/23/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the Licking County Health Department (LCHD) is not able to offer a local National Drug Take Back Day event, which was originally scheduled for this Saturday, April 25. While LCHD will not be hosting the event in order to comply with the Stay-at-Home Order to keep Licking County residents healthy, alternative methods are available for those who would still like to dispose of unused, expired, or unwanted medications. The locations of permanent drop box locations across Licking County are listed below for use when the Stay-at-Home order is lifted. Meanwhile, to safely throw away medications at home, please follow the MEDS Method. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 04/14/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) is complying with Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton's order to report Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases as either confirmed or probable. Beginning today, LCHD is reporting the number of individuals classified as probable COVID-19 cases. This is in addition to LCHD’s previous report which includes the number of individuals confirmed as COVID-19 cases, the number of individuals who have recovered from a COVID-19 diagnosis, and the number of deaths from COVID-19 in Licking County. To be classified as a confirmed case, an individual must have a confirmed laboratory test result. To be classified as a probable case, a patient must present with at least two of the following symptoms: fever, chills, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, new smell and taste disorder(s). Or the patient presents with at least one of the following symptoms: cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing. Or the patient presents with severe respiratory illness with at least one of the following: evidence of pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Probable cases must have any other likely alternative diagnosis ruled out prior to reporting them to LCHD. All probable cases of COVID-19 are reported to the Licking County Health Department within 24 hours of the diagnosis. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 04/13/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department’s (LCHD) Safe Communities Coalition reports two crash fatalities in Licking County during the first quarter of 2020, January 1 to March 31. Of the two fatalities in the first quarter, one involved a driver not wearing their seatbelt and both crashes involved a motorist suspected of being impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. During this same time frame last year, there were six reported fatal crashes. This is a decrease of four fatalities. “A recent concern for Licking County is the occurrence of crashes involving a driver that is impaired,” said Jon Kraus, Safe Communities Coordinator at LCHD. In just the last six months in Licking County, four out of the six total fatalities occurred in crashes involving a driver impaired by drugs and/or alcohol. In one case, a driver impaired by marijuana was at fault for a crash that killed both the driver and their passenger. “It’s vital people understand that alcohol is not the only substance that causes you to drive impaired. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reminds that alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs impair the ability to drive because they slow coordination, judgment, and reaction times. No matter what you are doing, make sure you have a sober ride home from wherever you are. You can designate a sober driver, call a taxi, use a ride sharing service, or many other options. Do not put yourself and others at risk because you make the wrong decision to drive impaired,” concluded Kraus. The Safe Communities Coalition and local law enforcement will continue efforts to decrease fatalities by reminding everyone to Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and that If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Although simple, these initiatives act as reminders for drivers to make smart decisions and that alcohol is not the only substance that can impact driving. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 04/10/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – This week, April 6 though 12, The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) was pleased to promote National Public Health Week! Licking County Health Commissioner Joe Ebel, says, "During events like a pandemic, the importance of public health becomes obvious. Public health workers are always at work behind the scenes to prevent disease, protect the environment, and promote healthy lifestyle. Public Health Week is an opportunity to recognize the important work of these dedicated public health professionals." As everyone’s mind is especially focused on public health's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are highlighting LCHD employees who are going outside of their normal job duties to respond to COVID-19 in Licking County Help us recognize the contributions of our public health workers in Licking County in everyday public health response... and during our COVID response! More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 04/06/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic has exceeded the supply available to first responders. The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) is asking for personal protective equipment (PPE) to distribute to Licking County First Responders to protect them as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. LCHD is specifically accepting unopened medical-grade masks such as N95 and surgical masks. LCHD is also accepting medical-grade gowns and Tyvek suits during the PPE Drive. Community members making donations are encouraged to drop off donations to the Licking County Health Department on Friday, April 10 from 8 am to 3 pm located at 675 Price Rd. in Newark. If you are unable to donate during that window of time, please call (740) 349-6535 to arrange a better time for drop-off. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 04/03/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) reports the first death of a Licking County resident who had tested positive for COVID-19. The patient was a man, 81 years old, and had underlying health conditions. Any personal or identifiable information will not be released about the patient to respect his family’s privacy. A patient's family may elect to self-identify via social media or otherwise, however, LCHD will still refer to that person, or case, as one case in our aggregate total of cases. Today, LCHD confirms 43 total COVID-19 cases in Licking County, of which 1 is a fatality. Those affected include 20 men and 23 women, range in age from 15 to 82, and a cumulative number of eight hospitalizations. Updated COVID-19 numbers in Licking County can be found daily at 2 pm on the health department’s website. LICKING COUNTY HEALTH COMMISSIONER, JOE EBEL: “On behalf of the entire county, we express our deepest sympathies for the family and friends of the patient who died,” said Licking County Health Commissioner, Joe Ebel. “Our thoughts go out to the Licking County community, as well as families of everyone affected by this pandemic.” More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 03/25/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) is reporting a total of five positive test results for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Licking County residents. The new confirmed cases include a 30-year-old female, a 51-year-old female and a 19-year-old female. LCHD previously reported two cases; a 27-year-old female, and a 58-year-old female. The health department is continuing to conduct contact tracing to identify individuals who may have had a prolong close contact with these confirmed cases. If determined to be a close contact, LCHD is ordering a 14-day quarantine from the date of last exposure and asking those contacts to monitor their temperature and report any symptoms to the health department. To protect the privacy of these individuals during this time of illness, LCHD will not be releasing any additional demographic information related to these cases, or anyone determined to be close contacts. There are 564 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 8 reported deaths (as of Tuesday, March 24). Licking County now reports five confirmed cases of COVID-19. LICKING COUNTY HEALTH COMMISSIONER, JOE EBEL: "The Licking County Health Department received three additional reports of COVID-19 positive test results in the past 24 hours. This brings the total lab confirmed case count to five. The confirmed cases are just the tip of the iceberg. Because of the limited testing availability and with many people only having mild illness, there are a lot of infected individuals that are never tested. The cases are from across the county, and everyone should assume that there is community spread of the virus throughout the state." More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 03/24/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) is reporting the second positive test result for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in a Licking County resident. The individual is a 58-year-old female. LCHD is investigating the case and is contacting anyone who was in close contact with the individual who needs to take action. To protect the privacy of the individual during this time of illness, LCHD will not be releasing any additional demographic information related to this case. LCHD infectious disease staff are following our department's infectious disease investigation guidelines. They are regularly communicating with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) as well as our other public health partners in the county to work as efficiently as possible to handle each case and their close contacts. LCHD staff has prepared for a pandemic through our Public Health Emergency Preparedness program. There are 442 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 6 reported deaths (as of Monday, March 23). Licking County now reports 2 confirmed cases of COVID-19. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 03/20/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) is reporting the first positive test result for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in a Licking County resident. The individual is a 27-year-old female. LCHD is investigating if this case is considered community spread. LCHD Health Commissioner, Joe Ebel wants to emphasize, “We will not be releasing any additional demographic information relating to this case. We want to protect the privacy of the individual during this time of illness. LCHD is contacting anyone who was in close contact with the individual and needs to take action.” LCHD infectious disease staff are following our department's infectious disease investigation guidelines.They are regularly communicating with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) as well as our other public health partners in the county to work as efficiently as possible to handle each case and their close contacts. LCHD staff has prepared for a pandemic such as this though our Public Health Emergency Preparedness program. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 03/16/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – At this time, Licking County Health Department (LCHD) officials state there are no confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 reported in Licking County. Information and guidance is changing rapidly, and LCHD is committed to keeping our residents safe and informed. ACCESSING HEALTH DEPARTMENT SERVICES LCHD is amending its programs and delivery of services to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission within the community and to protect the health of our employees. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 03/10/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) understands that novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an issue of concern nationally, internationally, and locally. Monday, the Ohio Department of Health announced that three cases of COVID-10 have been confirmed in Cuyahoga County. Governor Mike DeWine declared a state of emergency in Ohio to address the public-health crisis. These three cases are a couple and an individual in their 50s from who had contact with infected individuals while traveling outside of Ohio. There has been no confirmed community spread of COVID-19 in Ohio at this time. LCHD officials report that no one in Licking County is testing positive for COVID-19. In addition, LCHD currently has no cases of a person under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19. Information and guidance is changing rapidly, and LCHD is committed to keeping our residents safe and informed. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 03/09/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – Register now to join the Licking County Health Department's Wellness Coalition for their annual Worksite Wellness Workshop on Friday, April 17, 2020 at RevLocal in Granville. The event welcomes human resources administrators, worksite wellness coordinators and wellness committee members to learn ways to jump start a wellness initiative or improve an existing wellness program. The workshop allows time to network and learn from other Licking County businesses. More...
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 02/27/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) understands that coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an issue of concern nationally, internationally, and locally. Our mission is to prevent disease, protect the environment, and promote healthy lifestyles for those who work, live, or play in Licking County. According to the Ohio Department of Health, 212 people who have arrived in Ohio from China are under public health supervision. These individuals have been asked to voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days to prevent the potential spread of the new coronavirus. There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio, and currently the disease poses a very low risk to county residents. LCHD officials report that no one in Licking County is currently showing symptoms of COVID-19. LCHD currently has no cases of a person under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19. LCHD is notified by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) of anyone returning from China who lives in Licking County. Individuals returning from China are considered “travelers” and are under public health supervision and asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. As with other local health departments around the state, we have been notified of some returning travelers to our community. These individuals have been asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. We have been working closely with these individuals to ensure that they understand the parameters of self-quarantine and have reiterated them as recently as this morning. We will continue to stay in touch with them daily to ensure they follow our guidance. Our daily touch points will include phone calls, home visits and daily temperature monitoring. We will not be sharing information about individuals under public health supervision or under voluntary quarantine for COVID-19 in Licking County. These individuals are not showing any symptoms and are not under investigation. As is our normal practice when we monitor situations of infectious disease in the community, information will be shared as is necessary to protect the public while balancing individual privacy. As with other diseases, we do not routinely share suspected case information until it is confirmed. The same will be done with COVID-19. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 02/13/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Emergency Warming Center Task Force announces the opening multiple overnight warming centers this week in preparation for extremely cold temperatures. Anyone who is seeking a place to get out of the cold is welcome at any of the following offerings: The Disciple Factory Warming Center begins at 5 pm Thursday (02/13/20) and is also offered overnight Friday (02/14/20) through 8 am Saturday morning. The Disciple Factory is located at 50 S. 30th Street in Newark. The Salvation Army is offering a free dinner at 5:30 pm on Friday (02/14/20) and opening a warming center after dinner at 6:30 pm through 9 am Saturday morning. The Salvation Army is located at 250 E. Main Street in Newark. Transportation: Those in need of transportation to either warming center location can call 211 to arrange pick-up. Current pick-up sites are located at the East side of the Courthouse Square, the Newark Library, Vertical 196, and the corner of Baker Blvd and N. 21 Street. More...
The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) is included in a partnership between local agencies and organizations known as the Licking County Emergency Warming Center Task Force. The task force aims to coordinate and establish warming centers in Licking County for individuals who are in need of a warm and safe place to temporarily shelter on extremely cold nights during the winter. The Licking County Emergency Warming Center Task Force is offering community members a training course on Wednesday, February 12, for those interested in volunteering at warming centers during Licking County’s cold season. Volunteers are encouraged to attend the training course at the Salvation Army, located at 250 E. Main St. in Newark, from 6 pm to 8 pm. The Volunteer Training Course will educate volunteers on what to expect at a warming center and their potential roles and responsibilities along topics covering cold weather awareness, basic shelter operations and communicating with the homeless population. More...
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 01/30/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department’s (LCHD) Safe Communities Coalition is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remind football fans and Super Bowl partygoers that designated drivers are the best defense against the dangers of drunk driving. Super Bowl LIV is on Sunday, February 2, 2020. If your Super Bowl celebration involves alcohol, plan for a ride home with a sober driver. If you’re hosting the party, take care of the designated drivers with non-alcoholic drinks and plenty of food. We want to remind everyone that Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk. “Everyone wants to have a good time on Super Bowl night, so we want our community to plan safe rides home if they plan to be out at a party,” said Jon Kraus, LCHD’s Safe Communities Coordinator. “Even one drink can impair judgement. You should never put yourself, or others, at risk because you made the choice to drink and drive. Even one drink can be one too many.” More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 01/29/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – Beginning mid-February, the Licking County Health Department (LCHD) in partnership with the Licking County Community Health Improvement Committee will begin a survey of Licking County residents as part of its Community Health Assessment process. LCHD is working closely with the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio (HCNO) and researchers at the University of Toledo (Ohio) to conduct the survey. Over the next year, 2,000 Licking County residents will be randomly selected to participate in a mailed survey for the Community Health Assessment. Residents of Licking County who are randomly selected are urged to complete and return the survey. The survey was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is the world’s largest ongoing survey, being in use since 1984. The anonymous survey asks participants to answer questions about general health, risk and protective health factors, and access to health care. These answers will create a snapshot of the health of Licking County residents. The results will guide many public and private agencies in their program planning over the next several years by identifying key health problems. The final community health assessment report will be published in 2021 and the results will be used to prioritize needs and update the county's community health improvement plan. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 01/22/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department's (LCHD) Board of Health has named Kay Spergel, Executive Director of Mental Health & Recovery for Licking and Knox Counties (MHRLK) as the 2019 Public Health Guardian Award recipient. The award recognizes an individual, agency or program that has made a significant contribution to the promotion and protection of public health in Licking County. “Kay is a strong public health partner who supports programs and participates on local boards that seek to improve health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” said Joe Ebel, Licking County Health Commissioner. M. Kathryn Spergel (Kay), LISW-S has forty years of public behavioral health care experience including expertise in administration and management; public policy development; evaluation and outcomes management; grant management; community collaborations and planning; program development; education and training; and clinical direction and supervision. She has served as the Executive Director of the Mental Health and Recovery Board for Licking and Knox Counties since 2012 and has been with the Board since 2005. Ms. Spergel has clinical expertise in working with crisis and trauma, special need populations including forensic, homelessness, and high risk; providing mental health and addiction treatment and prevention; and advocacy. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Wittenberg University, her Master of Arts in Social Services Administration from the University of Chicago and Masters of Divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 01/17/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) encourages participation in Licking County Soil and Water Conservation District's (LCSWCD) River Round Up Poster Contest. The deadline for submission is February 21, 2020 and the winning individual receives $100 cash with an additional $500 in scholarship money! The River Round Up Poster Contest is open to all school-aged youth in primary, secondary schools (public, private, and home school; K-12) or school-aged youth living in Licking County. Posters should reflect water pollution awareness and encourage volunteer participation in the River Round Up. Prizes will be awarded to students and their respective schools. The winning individual will receive $100 in prize money and winner’s school will receive a $500 scholarship to use for advancing science and art programs. Up to two honorable mentions will receive $50 in prize money and a $250 scholarship each for their school. The grand prize also includes having the winning poster used as the primary electronic marketing picture for the 2020 River Round Up. Entries will be displayed on the River Round Up Facebook page. Winning posters will be displayed at a River Round Up registration sites on Saturday, September 12, 2020. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 01/14/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department’s (LCHD) Safe Communities Coalition reported 29 total crash fatalities in the county in 2019, an increase of eight compared to 2018’s 21. More specifically, there were four crash fatalities in the county during the fourth quarter of 2019, October 1st to December 31st. Of the four fatalities in the fourth quarter, three were drivers and/or passengers not wearing their seatbelt, and another involved a motorist suspected of being impaired by drugs. During this same time frame last year, there were eight reported fatal crashes. “A recent concern for Licking County is the occurrence of crashes involving a driver or passenger who were not wearing their seat belts,” said Jon Kraus, Safe Communities Coordinator at LCHD. In just the last six months, nine out of the thirteen total fatal crashes (motorcycle crashes excluded) involved motorists who were not wearing a seat belt. In one case, both the driver and passenger were not wearing their seat belt and both passed away. “It’s vital people understand that buckling up is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 01/13/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) reminds Licking County residents to test their homes for radon – it’s easy, inexpensive and could prevent you and your family from the dangerous health risks associated with high levels of radon. Licking County historically has the highest radon levels in Ohio. Tests performed by Licking County homeowners indicated nearly three out of four homes have radon levels above the recommended action level. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. It can not be detected by sight, smell or taste. Because radon is a gas, it can easily drift upward through the ground to the Earth’s surface – and could enter the lowest level of a building. Exposure to high levels of radon can cause lung cancer. Though harmful, radon is relatively easy to control. Testing is the only way to find out if radon is in your home. The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) estimates that one-half of Ohio homes have radon levels above the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended action level of 4 picoCuries/liter (4 pCi/l) of air. To request a free radon testing kit from the Licking County Health Department through ODH's Radon Program, visit www.lickingcohealth.org or call (740) 349-6496. Alternatively, you may purchase a low-cost ($10 to $25) radon test kit from a local home improvement store. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 01/09/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) recognizes January as National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Cervical cancer screening can stop cancer before it starts. A cervical screening test lasts five minutes, whereas the impact of cervical cancer lasts a lifetime. It is recommended through BCCP (Breast and Cervical Cancer Project) guidelines that women ages 21 and over get a cervical screening every three years. Cervical cancer is preventable if pre-cancerous cell changes are detected and treated early. Regular cervical tests may detect potential problems before they progress. Factors that may raise the risk of developing cervical cancer include having the HPV virus, smoking tobacco, long-term use of birth control, having given birth to three or more children, and having HIV. Licking County women can contact the Health Department’s BCCP program to learn if they may be eligible for the program’s cervical cancer screening services by calling (866) 418-4963. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 01/07/2020 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – What is your New Year’s resolution? The Licking County Health Department’s (LCHD) Break Free From Nicotine program can help you quit tobacco and nicotine products for good with the help of counseling and nicotine replacement therapies. Tobacco cessation services are free to everyone, either billed through insurance or through free programs. To ensure your success, we use evidence-based techniques and coordinate with other quit smoking programs to ensure you access the best program for you. How Does It Work? Tobacco users can contact LCHD or call (740) 755-4532 to be connected to the program coordinator. After completing a quick assessment, individuals will be referred to the program that is convenient, accessible, and fits their needs. More...
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 12/19/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – This holiday season, Licking County Health Department’s (LCHD) Safe Communities Coalition is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remind all drivers about the dangers of drinking and driving. The Coalition would like to remind everyone the importance of planning a sober ride home before heading out to enjoy the holiday festivities and on your way to seasonal travel destinations. This holiday season, and every day, remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. “The holidays are a special time for every community, and it’s more important than ever for us to stress the importance of safe driving habits,” said Jon Kraus, LCHD’s Safe Communities Coordinator. “We know everyone is rushing around, finishing those last-minute errands and attending various holiday parties. Before you even head out to the door, make sure you plan a sober ride home. Driving drunk should never be an option. Help us spread the message: Even one drink is one drink too many. Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” According to NHTSA, 37,133 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2017, and 29 percent (10,874) of those fatalities occurred in crashes during which a driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of .08. In fact, since 2016 in Licking County, there have been 9 fatal crashes in the month of December. The holidays prove to be extra dangerous to drivers as more people, drivers and pedestrians alike, are out on the roads. Anyone who is seeking a place to get out of the cold is welcome at any of these offerings. More...
The Licking County Emergency Warming Center Task Force announces the opening of an overnight warming center this week in preparation for extremely cold temperatures. Those in need of a warm place to gather are invited to The Disciple Factory beginning at 5 pm Wednesday (12/18/19) through 9 am Thursday. The Disciple Factory is located at 50 South 30th Street in Newark. In addition, Vertical 196 is offering extended hours on Thursday (12/19/19), beginning at 8 am through 2 pm. Vertical 196 is located at 196 South 5th Street in Newark. The Salvation Army will be offering breakfast at 7:30 am on Thursday (12/19/19). They are located at 250 E. Main Street in Newark. Anyone who is seeking a place to get out of the cold is welcome at any of these offerings. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 12/16/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) offers free naloxone kits to Licking County community members through our Project DAWN program. Naloxone (also known as Narcan) is a medication that can be used to quickly reverse an overdose caused by an opioid drug. The project educates individuals on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a drug overdose, call emergency medical services, perform rescue breathing and administer naloxone/Narcan nasally. Naloxone kits are available at LCHD, Mental Health America, Genoa Pharmacy, and Behavioral Healthcare Partners. Residents can stop at any one of the locations during regular business hours to be trained and receive a free naloxone kit. More...
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 12/02/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) is pleased to announce that it has been accredited for five years by the Public Health Accreditation Board. This milestone accomplishment is official recognition that the Licking County Health Department meets or exceeds the rigorous standards established by the non-profit, non-governmental Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). The national accreditation program works to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing and ultimately transforming the quality and performance of the nation’s state, local, Tribal and territorial public health departments. Accreditation means that LCHD is committed to continuous quality improvement so that we can meet our community’s needs as effectively as possible. PHAB accreditation demonstrates our accountability and credibility to everyone with whom we work. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 11/25/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) is partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to share an important lifesaving reminder this Thanksgiving holiday: Buckle Up — Every Trip. Every Time. During the 2017 Thanksgiving weekend, 365 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes nationwide. Nighttime proved even more deadly with 57 percent of Thanksgiving weekend crashes occurring at night. Much like drunk driving, these deaths represent needless tragedies for families across America. Many could have been completely prevented with the simple click of a seat belt. “It’s our greatest hope that our community members make it to their Thanksgiving destinations as safely as possible,” said Jon Kraus, LCHD’s Safe Communities Coordinator. “Whether you’re driving 10 minutes to the Thanksgiving dinner table or 10 hours, it’s critical that drivers and passengers Buckle Up — Every Trip, Every Time,” he said. “We want everyone to have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, so please, make sure everyone in your vehicle is buckled before you even turn on the car.” More...
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10/24/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) and Licking County Safe Communities Coalition, through support from State Farm®, challenged Licking County high school students to create a public service announcement (PSA) billboard to educate their peers about teen driver safety. We congratulate Granville High School student Brooke Lemert as she submitted the winning billboard design promoting Teen Driver Safety Week. Brooke's billboard is being displayed this month on digital billboards throughout Licking County. Plus, she won $500 cash! Brooke was awarded her $500 cash prize by Captain Chris Slayman of the Licking County Sheriff's Office, State Farm Agent Aaron May, and LCHD Health Educator Jonathan Kraus during a recent class. A panel of judges selected Brooke's winning entry based on the following criteria: relevance, originality, creativity, aesthetic quality, and how well the message of teen driver safety is communicated through the design. Motor-vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teens. The goal of the contest was to raise awareness leading up to National Teen Driver Safety Week, October 20 through the 26. More...
FFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10/17/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) is offering the flu vaccine to children and adults in Licking County. Children age six months and older and all adults should receive a yearly flu vaccination. Get a flu vaccination by walking-in to LCHD's Clinic, located at 675 Price Road in Newark, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. No appointment required. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10/15/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – Licking County Health Commissioner, Joe Ebel, announced that the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s (ODPS) Ohio Traffic Safety Office (OTSO) awarded $65,000 for federal traffic safety funding to the Licking County Health Department (LCHD) for federal fiscal year (FFY) 2020. The traffic safety grant funds are passed through OTSO from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The purpose of the funds is to support the efforts of safety partners statewide and focus on traffic safety priority areas such as seat belt use, impaired driving, motorcycle safety, distracted driving, and youthful drivers. Competitive grant proposals are accepted and reviewed by OTSO. The FFY 2020 competitive grant process solicited grant proposals from state agencies, non-profit organizations, colleges, universities, hospitals, political subdivisions and other interested groups within selected Ohio counties and jurisdictions (based upon the number of fatal crashes). Based on data, LCHD has identified restraint use, impaired driving, and motorcycle safety as priority areas. The Safe Communities Program uses the awarded funds to promote traffic safety through education and raise awareness throughout the community. To save lives and make roads safer in Licking County, LCHD will use the grant funds to provide school presentations, participate at community events, distribute traffic safety materials and education, and present a booth at the Hartford Fair. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10/10/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) is participating in National Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, October 26, in partnership with the Newark Police Department and support from Mental Health and Recovery of Licking and Knox Counties. Take advantage of a safe, convenient, and responsible way to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs during Rx Collect Drug Take-Back Day, offered at two locations in Newark. On Saturday, October 26, from 10 am to 2 pm, visit one of the two locations with your unused or expired prescription drugs in a clear, plastic bag for safe disposal: Newark Kroger Marketplace; 1155 North 21st St., Newark Newark CVS - E. Main; 379 E. Main St., Newark Residents should empty the contents of prescription pill bottles into a clear plastic bag and take the bag to the nearest drop off location. No questions are asked, and confidentiality remains a priority. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10/08/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department’s (LCHD) Safe Communities Coalition reported ten crash fatalities in the county during the third quarter of 2019, July 1st to September 30th. Of the ten fatalities in the third quarter, five of the crashes involved drivers and/or passengers not wearing their seat belt and two involved alcohol and/or drugs. During the same time frame in 2018, there were seven fatalities. This is an increase of three fatalities in the county. “One of the safest decisions a driver can make is the choice to wear his or her seat belt,” said Jon Kraus, Safe Communities Coordinator at LCHD. So far in 2019, at least nine out of the twenty one total fatal crashes in Licking County involved motorists who were not wearing their seat belt. “The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that seat belts are the best defense against impaired, aggressive, and distracted drivers. Being buckled up during a crash helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle. Ejection from a vehicle is almost always deadly,” concluded Kraus. More...
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 09/25/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – Registration guaranteeing a 2019 Pink Strides for Breast Cancer Wellness Walk t-shirt ends today at midnight! Register here! You're invited to support Licking County Health Department's (LCHD) and Screening and Survivor Support's (SASS) 12th annual Pink Strides for Breast Cancer Wellness Walk event on Saturday, October 5, event beginning at 9am (registration opens at 8:15am) at LCHD, located at 675 Price Road in Newark. Kick-off October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a family-friendly walk on the health department’s paved walking trail, with local breast cancer survivor testimonials, vendors, and prizes! Bring the family and join us to celebrate Licking County's breast cancer survivors and spread awareness about the importance of regular screenings and mammograms. Registration for the Pink Strides for Breast Cancer event is $20 before September 29th and guarantees a 2019 Pink Strides shirt and one raffle entry. Breast Cancer Survivor pre-registration is $15 and guarantees a 2019 Pink Strides shirt, one raffle entry, and a survivor pin. Children 12 and under are free. Day-of registration is $25 and includes a Pink Strides shirt (while quantities last) and one raffle entry. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 09/24/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) introduces a new way for Licking County residents and visitors to search for healthy living resources throughout the county by using two new interactive maps on the health department’s website. Over the last two years, the Licking County Wellness Coalition and the Maternal Child Health Program completed assessments on healthy retail and active living resources throughout the county. The goal of this project was to compile healthy living resources in the county and create a user-friendly mapping resource. Funding to complete these projects came from the Ohio Department of Health. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 09/10/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) practices an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control. This includes trapping for adults, dipping for larvae, treating standing water with larvicide, draining breeding sites when possible, and spraying to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. LCHD sprays to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. Mosquito spraying occurs with weather permitting during dusk hours from an LCHD marked vehicle. This week's mosquito spraying schedule includes: Tuesday, September 17: Derby Downs condos in Newark, Village of Alexandria, and Tamarack Road in Newark, and Thursday, September 19: Legend Valley, Village of Kirkersville, Ramp Creek Mobile Home Park, and Buckeye Lake KOA Campground. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 09/16/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department is helping to ensure all children are safe while riding in a vehicle. Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Week is September 15-21, 2019. CPS Week focuses on our efforts to educate parents and caregivers about car seat tips and recommendations for children. A properly installed child safety seat can reduce the risk of fatal injury in a crash by as much as 71 percent. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released some startling information - as of 2017, every 32 seconds a child in the United States is involved in a car crash. In Licking County, of the car seats installed prior to an inspection, 73% of seats are not installed correctly. Car crashes are the leading cause of death in children from ages 1-13. With car crashes on the rise, parents need to be extra vigilant about protecting their kids by making sure they are buckled up securely in the right car seat, every ride, every time. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 09/10/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – You're invited to support Licking County Health Department's (LCHD) and Screening and Survivor Support's (SASS) 12th annual Pink Strides for Breast Cancer Wellness Walk event on Saturday, October 5, event beginning at 9am (registration opens at 8:15am) at LCHD, located at 675 Price Road in Newark. Kick-off October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a family-friendly walk on the health department’s paved walking trail, with local breast cancer survivor testimonials, vendors, and prizes! Bring the family and join us to celebrate Licking County's breast cancer survivors and spread awareness about the importance of regular screenings and mammograms. Registration for the Pink Strides for Breast Cancer event is $20 before September 25th and guarantees a 2019 Pink Strides shirt and one raffle entry. Breast Cancer Survivor pre-registration is $15 and guarantees a 2019 Pink Strides shirt, one raffle entry, and a survivor pin. Children 12 and under are free. Day-of registration is $25 and includes a Pink Strides shirt (while quantities last) and one raffle entry. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 09/10/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) practices an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control. This includes trapping for adults, dipping for larvae, treating standing water with larvicide, draining breeding sites when possible, and spraying to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. LCHD sprays to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. Mosquito spraying occurs with weather permitting during dusk hours from an LCHD marked vehicle. This week's mosquito spraying schedule includes: Tuesday, September 10: Adams Avenue, Merchant Street, Buckeye Avenue, and Tamarack Road in Newark, and Thursday, September 12: Village of Kirkersville, Harbor Hills subdivision, and Buckeye Lake KOA Campground More...
The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) practices an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control. This includes trapping for adults, dipping for larvae, treating standing water with larvicide, draining breeding sites when possible, and spraying to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. LCHD sprays to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. Mosquito spraying occurs with weather permitting during dusk hours from an LCHD marked vehicle. This week's mosquito spraying schedule includes: Tuesday, September 3: Village of Alexandria, Village of Johnstown, and Tamarack Road in Newark. Thursday, September 5: Village of Kirkersville, Harbor Hills subdivision, Ramp Creek Mobile Home Park, and Buckeye Lake KOA Campground More...
See what's happening this month at the Licking County Health Department! More...
The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) announces a partnership between local agencies and organizations known as the Licking County Emergency Warming Center Task Force. The task force is aiming to coordinate and establish warming centers in Licking County for individuals who are in need of a warm and safe place to temporarily shelter on extremely cold nights during the winter. The recently established Emergency Warming Center Task Force consists of representatives from LCHD, the Licking County Emergency Management Agency, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Pathways of Central Ohio/211, Mental Health & Recovery of Licking and Knox Counties, Newark Homeless Outreach, Licking County Humane Society, Licking County Coalition for Housing, Licking Memorial Hospital, United Way of Licking County, the Faith-Based Community including Central Christian Church, Licking County Community in Action, and Vertical 196. The group meets at the the Licking County Foundation. Together, the representatives are working to prepare warming centers when inclement weather arises. This includes identifying buildings that can serve as warming centers and training volunteers to assist in the warming centers. The Licking County Emergency Warming Center Task Force is offering a training course to community members on Wednesday, September 18 for those who have interest in volunteering in warming centers during Licking County’s cold season. Those who are interested in volunteering in a warming center this winter are encouraged to attend the training course at the Salvation Army, located at 250 E. Main St. in Newark, from 5 to 8 pm. Additional Volunteer Training Courses will be offered prior to the cold season. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 09/03/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department and Licking County Safe Communities Coalition, through support from State Farm®, is challenging Licking County high school students to create a public service announcement (PSA) billboard to educate their peers about teen driver safety. The winning design will be displayed on a local billboard and the creator will be awarded $500. Motor-vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teens. The goal of the contest is to raise awareness leading up to National Teen Driver Safety Week, October 20 through 26. The contest requires students to create their own billboard design with a PSA for teen driver safety and includes the following areas of teen driver safety: seat belts, distracted driving, speed, and peer pressure. The billboard design can be created using whatever media they are most comfortable with, including graphic design, drawing, painting, photography, etc. When using facts and statistics, students should use credible sources (i.e. teendriversource.org, safecar.gov), or through their own research. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 08/29/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – Covered bike parking has been added to the 2nd Street Parking garage in downtown Newark thanks to a collaborative effort between the Licking County Health Department’s Creating Healthy Communities (CHC) program, the Licking County Area Transportation Study (LCATS), the City of Newark’s Department of Public Service, and with support from the Licking County Commissioners. Earlier this year, a survey was administered to assess the public’s perception of biking in downtown Newark. The common themes and areas of concern found through the survey were biking infrastructure, safety, and education of the laws of the road for both bicyclists and drivers. Most individuals who completed the survey felt downtown Newark is somewhat welcoming to bicyclists. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 08/28/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) supports the Licking County River Round Up event on Saturday, September 7. This annual river clean up brings out hundreds of volunteers who pull tires, shopping carts and mountains of trash from 30 miles of rivers and streams. Through this amazing community-based conservation effort, a river system that had all but been abandoned, has seen a beautiful rebirth of aquatic and bird life. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 08/27/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – During the 2019 Labor Day holiday, Licking County Health Department’s (LCHD) Safe Communities Coalition will partner with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to get drunk drivers off the roads and help save lives. The high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs from August 14 through September 2, 2019. During this period, local law enforcement will show zero tolerance for drunk driving. Increased state and national messages about the dangers of driving impaired, coupled with enforcement and increased officers on the road, aim to drastically reduce drunk driving on our nation’s roadways. During the 2017 Labor Day holiday period, there were 376 crash fatalities nationwide. Forty-four percent of those fatalities involved drivers who had been drinking (.01+ BAC). More than one-third (36 percent) of the fatalities involved drivers who were drunk (.08+ BAC), and more than one-fourth (26 percent) involved drivers who were driving with a BAC almost twice the legal limit (.15+ BAC). Age is a particularly risky factor: Among drivers between the ages of 18 and 34 who were killed in crashes over the Labor Day holiday period in 2017, 42 percent of those drivers were drunk, with BACs of .08 or higher. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 08/26/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) practices an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control. This includes trapping for adults, dipping for larvae, treating standing water with larvicide, draining breeding sites when possible, and spraying to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. LCHD sprays to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. Mosquito spraying occurs with weather permitting during dusk hours from an LCHD marked vehicle. This week's mosquito spraying schedule includes: Monday, August 26: Flint Ridge Park, Tuesday, August 27: Tamarack Road in Newark and Lazy River Campground, Wednesday, August 28: City of Pataskala, and Thursday, August 29: Village of Kirkersville, Harbor Hills subdivision, and Buckeye Lake KOA Campground. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 08/20/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department is offering a FREE interactive training for community members to learn safety skills for on-road bicycling in Newark and Licking County. Bring your bicycle and join us at the Licking County Family YMCA located at 470 West Church St., in Newark on Wednesday, September 4 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm for this educational ride. The workshop will consist of a short classroom style presentation covering bicycle safety basics and the rules and laws of the road. The remaining portion will be safety skills training and an on-road group bike ride through downtown for those who are comfortable. Helmets encouraged - and we will have free helmets available, while supplies last. All ages and skill levels welcome with snacks and give-aways. Recently, a survey was disseminated by the Licking County Creating Healthy Communities Program (CHC), Licking County Area Transportation Study (LCATS) and the City of Newark Engineers to identify the biggest concerns for biking around downtown Newark. One of the main concerns found through the survey was safety on the road, including respect from drivers and bicyclists following the rules of the road. In an effort to address safety concerns around biking in downtown Newark, the CHC program partnered with Toole Design and the Licking County Family YMCA to host this free Bicycle Safety Training Workshop to help bicyclists feel safe. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 08/20/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – Each year, August 20 is marked as "World Mosquito Day." On this day in 1897, British doctor, Sir Ronald Ross discovered that female mosquitoes transmit malaria between humans. So this day is marked every year by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) practices an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control. This includes trapping for adults, dipping for larvae, treating standing water with larvicide, draining breeding sites when possible, and spraying to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. LCHD sprays to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. Mosquito spraying occurs with weather permitting during dusk hours from an LCHD marked vehicle. This week's mosquito spraying schedule includes: Tuesday, August 20: Village of Alexandria, and Tamarack Road in Newark, and Thursday, August 22: Village of Kirkersville, Ramp Creek mobile Home Park, Harbor Hills subdivision, and Buckeye Lake KOA Campground. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 08/07/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) has identified the first West Nile Virus (WNV) infected mosquitoes of 2019 in a trap set in the Village of Alexandria. The trap was set on July 31, 2019, and LCHD became aware of the results from the Ohio Department of Health Laboratory late yesterday, August 6, 2019. The Village of Alexandria was sprayed last evening (Tuesday, August 6) for mosquitoes as a part of LCHD's mosquito control program. “It's not a surprise that we have identified West Nile Virus in the county, but it’s important for residents to take some simple safety precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones,” said Chad Brown, LCHD Director of Environmental Health. “Be sure to eliminate standing water on your property to reduce breeding sites, apply EPA-approved insect repellent, wear pants and sleeves when appropriate, and avoid outdoor activity after dark when mosquitoes are most active.” More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 08/06/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) practices an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control. This includes trapping for adults, dipping for larvae, treating standing water with larvicide, draining breeding sites when possible, and spraying to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. LCHD sprays to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. Mosquito spraying occurs with weather permitting during dusk hours from an LCHD marked vehicle. This week's mosquito spraying schedule includes: Tuesday, August 6: Village of Alexandria, Tamarack Rd (Newark), and area near Merchant Street (Newark), Thursday, August 8: Village of Kirkersville, Harbor Hills subdivision, Buckeye Lake KOA Campground, and Ramp Creek Mobile Home Park. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 08/06/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month in Ohio and Aug. 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week (WBW). Research suggests breastfeeding is a key modifiable factor for disease for both mothers and infants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report Ohio’s 2018 breastfeeding initiation rate of 81.9 percent ranks 36th in the nation. For this year’s Breastfeeding Awareness Month, Ohio will adopt the theme: Empower Families, Support Breastfeeding. This theme focuses on the importance of supporting all members of a breastfeeding family as well as working to advocate for breastfeeding supportive environments in and around local communities. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 08/01/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – See what's happening this month at LCHD! More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/31/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) has identified a confirmed case of Hepatitis A in a food worker at the Little Caesars Pizza location in Newark. Only one case has been identified, which does not constitute an outbreak, and after review of the food handling processes at the facility, the department has determined the issue represents a very low risk to public health. The facility closed voluntarily on July 30, 2019, in order to conduct extensive cleaning and facility repairs, and LCHD has worked with the facility to schedule a clinic to offer Hepatitis A vaccinations to all of the facility’s staff members. These steps were taken out of an abundance of caution, and the facility has been fully cooperative during this investigation. The CDC indicates that foodborne Hepatitis A outbreaks are uncommon.The most common way Hepatitis A is spread is from ingesting something that has come into contact with the feces from an infected person. The Ohio Administrative Code requires that a person with hepatitis A who works in a sensitive occupation shall be excluded from work in the sensitive occupation until ten days after initial onset of symptoms. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/30/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) practices an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control. This includes trapping for adults, dipping for larvae, treating standing water with larvicide, draining breeding sites when possible, and spraying to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. Mosquito spraying occurs with weather permitting during dusk hours from an LCHD marked vehicle. This week's mosquito spraying schedule includes: Tuesday, July 30: Derby Downs/Essex Downs and Tamarack Rd (Newark); Wednesday, July 31: Etna Township, Village of St. Louisville, and Hartford Fairgrounds; and Thursday, August 1: Village of Kirkersville, Harbor Hills subdivision, Buckeye Lake KOA Campground, Harrison Complex, and Beachwood Trails Subdivision. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/29/2018 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – Be proactive with your health and schedule your annual Mammogram with OhioHealth's Mobile Mammography Unit, facilitated by the Licking County Health Department's Breast & Cervical Cancer Project (BCCP) program. Choose a convenient time between 9 am and 2 pm to visit the Mobile Unit on Saturday, August 17, at the Johnstown Village Offices - 599 South Main Street. Call BCCP at (866) 418-4963 to schedule your 20-minute mammogram. All women ages 21 to 64 are eligible for BCCP Patient Navigation Services and may also be eligible for BCCP financial assistance. Call for qualifications. A prescription from your physician is required for bone density screenings and mammograms for women under 40. BCCP aims to increase breast and cervical cancer screenings for all women by providing education, access to services through screenings, and increase HPV vaccination rates in Central Ohio. Call (866) 418-4963 to learn more. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/24/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) is encouraging Licking County residents to get their colorectal cancer screening by offering free colorectal test kits to the public. Colorectal cancer screenings save lives. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the U.S., but it can be prevented. Colonoscopies can help find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening of your stool can also find colorectal cancer early, when treatment is most effective. If you are 50 or older – don’t wait, get screened. LCHD is offering free colorectal cancer screening test kits to Licking County men and women who are between the ages of 50 and 75. The new program is in partnership with Licking Memorial Health System (LMHS) and is designed to detect blood in the stool which can be an early sign of colorectal cancer. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/23/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) practices an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control. This includes trapping for adults, dipping for larvae, treating standing water with larvicide, draining breeding sites when possible, and spraying to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. Mosquito spraying occurs with weather permitting during dusk hours from an LCHD marked vehicle. This week's mosquito spraying schedule includes: Tuesday, July 23: Camp O'Bannon, Village of Alexandria, Tamarack Rd (Newark), Wednesday, July 24: Park Trails Subdivision and Channel Street (Newark), Thursday, July 25: Village of Kirkersville, Ramp Creek Mobile Home Park, Harbor Hills subdivision, and Buckeye Lake KOA campground. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/22/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) urges parents to protect their children against vaccine-preventable diseases through immunization. July is the best time to have a child immunized before heading back to school. Clinic appointments fill up quickly prior to the first day of school. Parents should contact LCHD's Immunization Clinic or their healthcare provider to ensure all required immunizations have been provided to their child before to the first day of school. Children who go to school without the required vaccinations risk being excluded from school until all requirements are met. They also risk becoming ill. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/18/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) released its 2019 Mid-Year Report with updates and statistics from their Environmental Health division, Health Education division, Community and Personal Health division, Maternal and Child Health division, with grant funding information and epidemiological data. In the report, Licking County Health Commissioner Joe Ebel highlights the top local Public Health impacts from the first half of 2019. They include Hepatitis A monitoring, mosquito prevention, achievements in stigma reduction, communicable disease prevention and monitoring, and the implementation of the Tobacco-21 initiative. The LCHD Health Education division reports success in regards to child injury prevention, tobacco cessation, and drug overdose prevention, among other health education initiatives. Improvements to the solid waste and housing program and the food safety program, along with conducting an environmental health assessment were notable highlights from the LCHD Environmental Health Division. The LCHD Community and Personal Health's division report focuses on accomplishments made in the Children with Medical Handicaps program, narcan distribution program, and breast and cervical cancer screening program. LCHD's Maternal and Child Health division continues to serve women and children enrolled in the WIC program in Licking County, already seeing 2,105 participants in the first half of 2019 and 50 visits made from the Newborn Home Visiting program. In addition, LCHD reports 27 active grants funding 24 programs. Epidemiological statistics include the top five reportable disease rates in Licking County: Hepatitis C, Hepatitis A, Lyme Disease, Pertussis, Salmonella, and Hepatitis B. Also included are the STD disease rates in the county for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/15/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) practices an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control. This includes trapping for adults, dipping for larvae, treating standing water with larvicide, draining breeding sites when possible, and spraying to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. Mosquito spraying occurs with weather permitting during dusk hours from an LCHD marked vehicle. This week's mosquito spraying schedule includes: Monday, July 15: Hanover Township and Lazy River Campground, Tuesday, July 16: Harrison Township and Tamarack Rd (Newark), Village of Granville, McPeek Lodge, and Stublyn Road, and Thursday, July 18: Village of Kirkersville, Harbor Hills subdivision, Buckeye Lake KOA campground. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/11/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) is hosting a human trafficking and mandatory reporting training to Licking County professionals who are mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect. The training will take place on Thursday, August 8th at the Pataskala Police Department, located at 623 W. Broad St., in Pataskala from 8:00 am to 12:00 Noon. LCHD received a grant from United Way of Licking County’s affinity group, Women United, to provide the human trafficking and mandatory reporting training. Anyone can be a victim of trafficking anywhere, including in the United States. Speakers for this free training are from Licking County Job and Family Services and the Public Children Services Association of Ohio. To learn more and/or to attend this free training, please contact LCHD Health Educator, Mary Richardson at (740) 349-6951 or by email at mrichardson@lickingcohealth.org. Registration is required due to limited space. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/10/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department’s (LCHD) Safe Communities Coalition reported eight crash fatalities in the county during the second quarter of 2019, April 1st to June 30th. Of the eight fatalities in the second quarter, two of the crashes involved drivers under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and two involved motorcycles. During the same time frame in 2018, there were three fatalities. This is an increase of five fatalities in the county. “Impaired driving, whether from drugs or alcohol, is an issue that continues to impact Licking County drivers. It’s illegal everywhere in America to drive under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, opioids, methamphetamines, or any potentially impairing drug. These include those prescribed or over the counter,” said Jon Kraus, Safe Communities Coordinator at LCHD. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/09/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – You're invited to Licking County Health Department's 15th annual Kickin' Ash Splash Pool Party on Saturday, July 27, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Heath City Water Park! This family-friendly "night-swim" encourages active and healthy lifestyles free from tobacco and aims to teach families of Licking County how to incorporate healthy foods and physical activities into their lifestyles by providing healthy snacks, games and giveaways. Entrance to the water park on July 28 after 5:30 p.m. will be at a reduced cost of $2 per person. Members of Heath City Water Park can attend this event free. The Heath City Water Park is located at 1287 Hebron Road in Heath and will be fully operational for this evening of family-friendly fun. More...
OR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/08/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department’s (LCHD) Access to Care Committee is offering a Question and Answer (Q and A) Event on Getting Access to Health Insurance. Learn how to enroll in a Medicaid Managed Care Plan or other health insurance plans, how to use your benefits, how to find a doctor on your plan, and more. The open-house-style event will be held on Thursday, July 25 at The Main Place, located at 112 South 3rd Street in Newark, from 10 am to 2 pm. Plan representatives will present information to individuals who receive Medicaid or other public assistance insurance benefits. The Access To Care committee understands that many Medicaid Managed Care plan recipients who are covered by health insurance are still unsure what medications or care services are covered, or how to find a doctor for preventative screenings. Uninsured and Under-Insured people can also find out how to get enrolled in a Medicaid plan. LCHD’s Access to Health Care Q and A Session will help individuals get their health care questions answered and assist them in signing up for insurance if needed. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/02/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – See what's happening this month at LCHD! More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 06/24/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) practices an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control. This includes trapping for adults, dipping for larvae, treating standing water with larvicide, draining breeding sites when possible, and spraying to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. Mosquito spraying occurs with weather permitting during dusk hours from an LCHD marked vehicle. This week's mosquito spraying schedule includes: Tuesday, July 2: Village of St. Louisville, Village of Granville, Village of Kirkersville, Buckeye Lake KOA, Tamarack Rd (Newark), and Harbor Hills subdivision, and Wednesday, July 3: Perry Township. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/01/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department's (LCHD) Safe Communities Coalition reminds you to plan for a sober way home this Fourth of July if you plan on drinking. Law enforcement in Licking County is taking part in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign during the Fourth of July holiday period to put an end to drunk driving. In support of law enforcement’s dedication to protecting the lives of residents in their communities, you’ll see increased enforcement on the roads with zero tolerance for those who drive impaired. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 06/24/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) practices an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control. This includes trapping for adults, dipping for larvae, treating standing water with larvicide, draining breeding sites when possible, and spraying to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. Mosquito spraying occurs with weather permitting during dusk hours from an LCHD marked vehicle. This week's mosquito spraying schedule includes: -Tuesday, June 25: Monroe Township, Village of Alexandria, and Tamarack Rd (Newark), Wednesday, June 26: City of Pataskala and Foundation Park, Thursday, June 27: Buckeye Lake KOA Campground, Village of Kirkersville, Ramp Creek Mobile Home Park, and Harbor Hills. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 06/17/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) practices an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control. This includes trapping for adults, dipping for larvae, treating standing water with larvicide, draining breeding sites when possible, and spraying to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. LCHD sprays to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. Mosquito spraying occurs with weather permitting during dusk hours from an LCHD marked vehicle. This week's mosquito spraying schedule includes: Monday, June 17: Etna Township, Tuesday, June 18: Tamarack Road and Park Trails Subdivision in Newark, and Thursday, June 20: Buckeye Lake KOA Campground, Village of Kirkersville, and Harbor Hills. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 06/13/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) is engaging with residents about environmental factors that impact their health and safety in the neighborhoods where they live. This includes topics like water quality, built environment, disease, food safety, recreation and more. The Licking County "PACE-EH" project is a community-based environmental health assessment that will engage communities to explore the broad physical and social environments that impact health and safety. The project is funded through a grant from the Unrestricted Fund of the Licking County Foundation. Community feedback is being gathered through two avenues: an online survey and a series of focus group meetings throughout Licking County. The survey can be found here, and takes around 10 minutes to complete. Survey responses are anonymous and the demographics collected will only be used to ensure all communities in Licking County are represented. The survey was created by a steering committee consisting of members from local health and safety professions. LCHD will hold six Focus Group meetings as part of the project. This allows residents to voice their opinions in more detail and provide insight on how to best combat the major environmental health concerns facing the county. Focus group meeting information is listed below and are being held in Newark, Johnstown, Pataskala, Hanover, Utica, and Hebron within June and July. No registration is required, please join LCHD for conversation and refreshments - plus the first 20 individuals at each location will receive a $10 gas gift card for their time and thoughts. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 06/11/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) practices an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control. This includes trapping for adults, dipping for larvae, treating standing water with larvicide, draining breeding sites when possible, and spraying to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. Mosquito spraying occurs with weather permitting during dusk hours from an LCHD marked vehicle. This week's mosquito spraying schedule includes: -Tuesday, June 11: Village of Alexandria, Tamarack Road in Newark, and Buckeye Avenue in Newark, -Thursday, June 13: Buckeye Lake KOA Campground, Village of Kirkersville, Ramp Creek Mobile Park, and Harbor Hills. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 06/04/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – See what's happening this month at LCHD! More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 06/03/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) practices an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control. This includes trapping for adults, dipping for larvae, treating standing water with larvicide, draining breeding sites when possible, and spraying to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. Mosquito spraying occurs with weather permitting during dusk hours from an LCHD marked vehicle. This week's mosquito spraying schedule includes: -Wednesday, June 5: Village of Granville, Stublyn Lane and McPeek Lodge (Granville), and Harbor Hill Subdivision (Thornville) -Thursday, June 6: Buckeye Lake KOA Campground and Village of Kirkersville More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 05/29/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) practices an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control. This includes trapping for adults, dipping for larvae, treating standing water with larvicide, draining breeding sites when possible, and spraying to kill adult mosquitoes when needed. Mosquito spraying occurs with weather permitting during dusk hours from an LCHD marked vehicle. This week's mosquito spraying schedule includes: -Thursday, May 30: Ramp Creek Mobile Home Park in Heath, Buckeye Lake KOA Campground, and Village of Kirkersville. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 05/29/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD), as part of the Licking County River Round Up Committee, congratulates the 2019 Poster Contest Winners from Licking County schools. The winning posters reflect water pollution awareness and encourage volunteer participation in the annual River Round Up water clean-up event. Each year, volunteers remove over 1,500 pounds of trash, 700 pounds of recyclable materials and about 400 tires from the Licking River and its tributaries during the River Round Up event. Emma Reamer, senior at Granville High School, won the Grand Prize title in the poster contest (her artwork can be seen above). She received a $100 cash prize and her school received a $500 check for use to advance science and art programs. In addition, Emma's winning piece will be displayed as the primary marketing image in the 2019 River Round Up on September 7. Honorable Mention prizes were awarded Andrew Lane, an 8th grader at Blessed Sacrament School and Addison Mead, 3rd grader at Johnstown Elementary School. Both schools received a $250 check toward science and art education. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 05/22/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department's (LCHD) Safe Communities Coalition recently conducted a "Click it or Ticket" seat belt contest between three local high schools - Newark High School, Licking Valley High School, and Watkins Memorial High School. The campaign and prize were granted by State Farm Insurance. During selected dates in May, seat belt checks were given at each high school by Troopers from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, LCHD's Safe Communities Coalition, Sheriff Deputies from the Licking County Sheriff's Office, and local State Farm Agents Erin Curtis and Amanda Erwine. Licking Valley High School won the seatbelt contest with 92 percent of their students being buckled up on their way to school during the check time! Newark High School had 85 percent of their students buckled up and Watkins Memorial had 81 percent of their students buckled up. The current Licking County seat belt usage for all ages is 86.4 percent. Licking Valley High School's SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) Club received the $300 award during their Senior Assembly on May 21. The prize was funded through a community grant from State Farm Insurance. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 05/20/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department’s (LCHD) Worksite Wellness Workgroup awarded two Licking County Companies for their outstanding wellness initiatives at the 2019 Licking County Safety Council Annual Awards Luncheon on May 14. The Licking County Library and Licking Memorial Health Systems were recognized for their commitment and strategy to create a culture of wellness and improve employee well-being. Business are categorized by size, small, medium and large, to ensure a fair comparison of their size and resources. The library was awarded in the medium business category and the hospital was awarded in the large business category. Small businesses were also encouraged to apply. Each application was scored on a point system. This was the 3rd year for the Worksite Wellness Award. The application included various questions including worksite programs, benefits, and written policies and guidelines. All businesses with any type of wellness programming were encouraged to apply. This award application can also be used as a blueprint for companies looking to start or improve their wellness program. The companies were notified of their award after the annual Worksite Wellness Workshop on April 12th. Both companies showed a consistent and energetic effort towards improving employee wellness and well-being in the application. Each company demonstrated their own unique way of leveraging company resources to implement programs at their worksites including monthly wellness bingo challenges and an employee wellness center to name a few. Leadership involvement and employee participation also helped these companies score higher in their specified categories. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 05/06/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – On Saturday, June 1, the Licking County Health Department (LCHD) invites Licking County residents to our Change Gears | Ride a Bike event. LCHD staff will be on-site at three check-in locations in Licking County from 8:00 am until 12 Noon. This free community bike ride welcomes families, individuals and children to ride on Licking County bike trails. The event is an open ride, so you may choose your own distance and pace. Free helmets and healthy snacks will be available at all three locations. Ride in and visit us at three check-in locations! Newark: at the Newark campus of Central Ohio Technical College and the Ohio State University at Newark – near Warner Center parking lot. Johnstown: at the west end of the T.J. Evans Trail, on Jersey Street. Hanover: at Marne United Methodist Church. (Most family friendly location with less traffic and level terrain.) Youth can practice their bike skills in a bike rodeo at the Newark and Hanover locations. All bike riders are asked to wear a helmet during the rodeo and the ride. Bike repair services will not be available. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 05/01/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – See what's happening this month at LCHD! More...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 04/26/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) invites Licking County women to our annual Women’s Health Fair event on Thursday, May 9, at the Licking County Family YMCA (Mitchell Center) from 3 to 6 p.m. Explore local resources available to all Licking County women and their families. Learn about health screenings, immunizations, car seat installations, tobacco cessation and more! Plus, win prize drawings and enjoy free refreshments!

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 04/24/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – Is it time for your annual Mammogram? LCHD’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Project (BCCP) Mobile Mammography Unit is coming to Newark on Friday, May 10 to Moundbuilders General Dentistry, located at 1634 W. Church Street.
Call BCCP at (866) 418-4963 to schedule your 20-minute mammogram. All women ages 21 to 64 are eligible for BCCP Patient Navigation Services and may also be eligible for BCCP financial assistance. BCCP aims to increase breast and cervical cancer screenings for all women by providing education, access to services through screenings, and increase HPV vaccination rates in Central Ohio. Call (866) 418-4963 to learn more. More...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 04/16/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department's Safe Communities Coalition urges all teenagers to be safe this Prom and Graduation season by planning ahead and making good choices. The coalition encourages parents to make tough decisions and talk to their teens about making life-saving choices when it comes to their Prom and Graduation activities. Young drivers are less likely than adults to drink and drive, but their crash risk is substantially higher when they do. Young drivers are also more likely to not wear their seat belts and drive drowsy, putting them at an even higher risk for getting in a car crash and having serious injuries. “Teens deserve to celebrate their accomplishments and share in their excitement for the future,” said Jon Kraus, Licking County Health Department’s (LCHD) Safe Communities Coordinator. “But we want to make sure they make good choices. Safe, smart decisions help teens experience their futures to the fullest potential.” More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 04/12/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department’s (LCHD) Safe Communities Coalition reports six traffic fatalities during the first quarter of 2019, January 1 through March 31, in Licking County. Of the six fatalities, two of the crashes involved drivers under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and two involved motorists not wearing their seat belts. During the same time frame in 2018, there were three fatalities. This is an increase of three fatalities in the county. “An issue for Licking County drivers that continues to be a concern is the occurrence of crashes involving an impaired driver. It is important to remember impaired driving is not just limited to alcohol. Drugs, whether prescribed or not, can influence your driving ability,” said Jon Kraus, Safe Communities Coordinator at LCHD. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 04/10/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department’s (LCHD) Creating Healthy Communities (CHC) program is working to improve bicycle infrastructure in downtown Newark. CHC is partnering with the City of Newark Engineers and the Licking County Area Transportation Study to assess the current biking infrastructures’ strengths and opportunities. A bike friendly community welcomes bicyclists by providing safe accommodations for bicycling and encouraging people to bike for transportation and recreation. Making bicycling safe and convenient are keys to improving public health, reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality and quality of life. Help us make downtown Newark bike friendly by filling out this quick survey. We will use your feedback to assess how the future of Newark can improve its pathways and roads for safer and easier bicycle use, all while improving your health. Your responses are anonymous and confidential. Thanks for your input on making Newark a more bike friendly city! More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 04/03/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) is participating in National Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 27 in partnership with the Newark Police Department, the Licking County Sheriff's Office and support from Mental Health and Recovery of Licking and Knox Counties. Take advantage of a safe, convenient, and responsible way to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs during Rx Collect Drug Take-Back Day, offered at three locations in Licking County. On Saturday, April 27, from 10 am to 2 pm, visit one of the following locations with your unused or expired prescription drugs in a clear, plastic bag for safe disposal: Newark Kroger Marketplace; 1155 North 21st St., Newark Newark CVS - E. Main; 379 E. Main St., Newark Pataskala Kroger; 350 E. Broad St., Pataskala Residents should empty the contents of prescription pill bottles into a clear plastic bag and take the bag to the nearest drop off location. No questions are asked, and confidentiality remains a priority. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 04/04/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) and Trek Brewing Company are partnering for a fundraising event on Thursday, April 18 where $1 from every pint sold benefits LCHD's Screening & Survivor Support (SASS) for Breast Cancer program. The event is being held at Trek Brewing Company, located at 1486 Granville Rd., in Newark, from 5 to 9 pm on Thursday, April 18. In 2018, SASS helped provide 22 Licking County women with mammograms, two of which also received other diagnostic testing, and gave 16 stipends totaling $8,000 to Licking County women diagnosed with breast cancer. LCHD's SASS program also collaborates with a local breast cancer survivor to provide a social support group for women in Licking County who are going through or have gone through breast cancer, called Kindred Spirits. Join us on April 18 as we "Trek Together" to fight breast cancer! More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 04/02/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) invites the public to attend an Ohio Historical Marker Dedication on April 15, 2019 at 2:00 pm at the Price Road Campus at 675 Price Road in Newark. The historical marker commemorates the Licking County Tuberculosis Sanatorium, now home to the health department. State historical markers stand as a valuable and important means of presenting Ohio history to the public, and they encourage community interest in state and local history. With support from the Ohio History Connection, LCHD has sponsored the marker to commemorate the rich history of our building. The ceremony will feature remarks by Licking County Health Commissioner Joe Ebel as well as Stephanie McManus from the Ohio History Connection. Following the unveiling of the new marker, visitors are invited to attend a small reception in the lobby to learn more about the history of the building. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 04/02/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – See what's happening this month at LCHD! More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 03/27/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – Licking County Wellness Coalition Members: Your spring newsletter has arrived! More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 03/20/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) has released its 2018 Annual Report and 2018 Communicable Disease Report. Licking County Health Commissioner Joe Ebel said, "2018 continued to pose many of the same public health challenges Licking County has seen in the past - high smoking rates, poor nutrition and a lack of physical activity; combined with mounting problems related to drug and alcohol abuse, vaping among teens, and growing health inequity. LCHD is committed to continue working to create an environment where better health can flourish, improving opportunities for all residents to achieve their optimal health." In addition to an Annual Report, LCHD published its 2018 Communicable Disease Report. Health department nursing, environmental, and epidemiology staff conduct disease surveillance, prevent disease, and investigate outbreaks. In 2018, LCHD responded to four outbreaks and tracked 1,421 reportable diseases through the Ohio Disease Reporting System. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 03/14/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – Register now to join the Licking County Health Department's Wellness Coalition for their annual Worksite Wellness Workshop on Friday, April 12, 2019 at The Grove by the River in Newark. The event welcomes human resources administrators, worksite wellness coordinators and wellness committee members to learn ways to jump start a wellness initiative or improve an existing wellness program. The workshop allows time to network and learn from other Licking County businesses as well as time to complete the application for the 2nd annual Licking County Worksite Wellness Award. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 03/13/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County District Advisory Council (DAC) will meet on Monday, March 18, 2019, Noon to 1 p.m. at the Licking County Health Department - 675 Price Rd. in Newark. The meeting will include the election of Chairman and Secretary of the District Advisory Council, re-appointment/appointment of two Licking County Board of Health Members to the expired terms - representing Township and Village seats, and a Board of Health presentation of the 2018 Annual Report. If no quorum, then an executive committee will be formed. The health district advisory council consist of the president of the board of county commissioners, the chief executive of each municipal corporation not constituting a city health district, and the chairperson of the board of township trustees of each township. The board of county commissioners, the legislative body of a municipal corporation, and the board of township trustees of a township may select an alternate from among themselves to serve if the president, the chief executive, or the chairperson is unable to attend any meeting of the district advisory council. When attending a meeting on behalf of a council member, the alternate may vote on any matter on which the member is authorized to vote. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 03/13/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – During St. Patrick's Day festivities, the Licking County Health Department’s (LCHD) Safe Communities Coalition is working to spread the message about the dangers of drunk driving. Even one drink can be one too many. If you’re heading out for Irish festivities, plan ahead and remember Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. Tragically, March 17 has become a dangerous holiday on our nation’s roads. According to the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day holiday period, more than one-third (37%) of all motor vehicle crash fatalities involved drunk drivers. The early hours of March 18, 2017 proved the most dangerous. Between midnight and 5:59 a.m., 75% of all crash fatalities involved drunk drivers. In fact, from 2013 to 2017, over one-third (35%) of the drunk-driving fatalities during this holiday period involved drivers who had blood alcohol concentrations well above the .08 limit. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 03/04/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – See what's happening this month at LCHD! More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 03/01/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department's (LCHD) Worksite Wellness Workgroup is accepting nominations for the 2019 Worksite Wellness Award. The Worksite Wellness Award recognizes Licking County companies that demonstrate a commitment to employee health and well-being. Members of the Licking County Worksite Wellness Workgroup will score applications and select one winner in each category based on company size: Small Company = 1-20 employees, Medium Company = 21 – 99 employees, Large Company = 100+ employees. The nomination application includes various questions including worksite programs, benefits, and written policies and guidelines. All businesses with any type of wellness programing are encouraged to apply. This award application can also be used as a blueprint for companies looking to start or improve their wellness program. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 02/25/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) is teaming up with Granville Christian Academy and Safe Kids Ohio for a free Child Car Seat Safety Check on Tuesday, March 26 at Granville Christian Academy – located at 1820 Newark Granville Rd, in Granville. Stop by anytime from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a free child car seat safety check or installation by one of our Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians. Vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for kids ages 1 through 12. In 2010, on average, 325 children under the age of 12 were injured in motor vehicle crashes every day. Correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent! Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians will assist in installation of a child’s car seat for free. You are welcome to bring along your child whose car seat you are getting checked. There is no RSVP for this event. Service is available anytime between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. So please, come and get your car seat checked at the Granville Christian Academy to help keep your kids safe. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 02/11/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – Save the date to join the Licking County Health Department's Wellness Coalition at our annual Worksite Wellness Workshop on Friday, April 12, 2019 at The Grove by the River in Newark. Event registration coming soon! The event welcomes human resources administrators, worksite wellness coordinators and wellness committee members to learn ways to jump start a wellness initiative or improve an existing wellness program. The workshop allows time to network and learn from other Licking County businesses as well as time to complete the application for the 2nd annual Licking County Worksite Wellness Award. SHRM and HCRI recertification credits are available for HR professionals. This workshop counts as one meeting attendance toward the Licking County Safety Council credit. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 02/05/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – See what's happening this month at LCHD! More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 01/31/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department's (LCHD) Board of Health has named Sean Grady, Director of Licking County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) as the 2018 Public Health Guardian Award recipient. The award recognizes an individual, agency or program that has made a significant contribution to the promotion and protection of public health in Licking County. “Sean has been an exceptional public health advocate, integrating public health preparedness and emergency response into the county’s all hazard plan, and has help build relationships through planning and exercises that enhance our ability to respond when a crisis occurs.” said Joe Ebel, Licking County Health Commissioner. Sean has been in the Emergency Management field for the past 10 years after having a successful career in the Fire and Security Industry for over 20 years. He has been both the Director and Deputy Director of the Sandwich MA Emergency Management Agency and the Logistics Section Chief for the City of Boston - Office of Emergency Management. He taught in higher education at two colleges in Boston for 10 years and guest-lectured in the Mass Maritime graduate program. Licking County Commissioner Tim Bubb said, "The Licking County Commissioners are proud of the work Sean does and the fact that he is being recognized by the Health District and being called a Guardian. It is all about collaboration and serving the 172 thousand people of Licking County." Sean is originally from St. Clairsville, Ohio and lived in the Boston area for 25 years before returning to Ohio in late 2014 to become the Director at Licking County EMA. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 01/28/2018 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – As Super Bowl LIII quickly approaches, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is teaming up with the Licking County Health Department’s (LCHD) Safe Communities Coalition to remind football fans that designated drivers are the best defense against the dangers of drunk driving. The Super Bowl is a festive night in homes and bars across America, but if your night involves alcohol, plan for a sober ride home. We want to remind everyone, Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk. “The Super Bowl should be a fun night of entertainment with friends and family. We want our community to plan safe rides home if they plan to be out at a party,” said Jon Kraus, LCHD’s Safe Communities Coordinator. “Even one drink can impair judgement. You should never put yourself, or others, at risk because you made the choice to drink and drive. For most, just one drink can be one too many.” Safety should be your number one priority. When it’s time to leave the party, make sure your designated driver is completely sober. If he or she decided to drink: call a cab, use the SaferRide app, call someone else who you know hasn’t been drinking, or use a ridesharing app. Walking impaired can also be dangerous, so designate a sober friend to walk home with you if needed. When driving, remember sober driving isn’t the only law that should be followed. Make sure you and your driver wear your seat belts. It’s your best defense in a crash. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 01/22/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) along with the Licking County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) are informing Licking County residents about upcoming weather and how to prepare. The National Weather Service is forecasting warmer temperatures in Central Ohio tomorrow (Wednesday, January 23) - reaching into the 40s F. A high of 43 degrees F is expected at 2pm on Wednesday afternoon and then chilling to 24 degrees F overnight into Thursday morning. With warmer temperatures and additional precipitation, be aware of potential flooding in the area - especially around your home and in roadways. Existing ice and snow will be melting in addition to the rain. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 01/09/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) reminds Licking County residents to test their homes for radon – it’s easy, inexpensive and could prevent you and your family from the dangerous health risks associated with high levels of radon. Licking County historically has the highest radon levels in Ohio. Tests performed by Licking County homeowners indicated nearly three out of four homes have radon levels above the recommended action level. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. It can not be detected by sight, smell or taste. Because radon is a gas, it can easily drift upward through the ground to the Earth’s surface – and could enter the lowest level of a building. Exposure to high levels of radon can cause lung cancer. Though harmful, radon is relatively easy to control. Testing is the only way to find out if radon is in your home. The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) estimates that one-half of Ohio homes have radon levels above the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended action level of 4 picoCuries/liter (4 pCi/l) of air. To request a free radon testing kit from the Licking County Health Department through ODH's Radon Program, visit www.lickingcohealth.org or call (740) 349-6535. Alternatively, you may purchase a low-cost ($10 to $25) radon test kit from a local home improvement store. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 01/07/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department’s (LCHD) Safe Communities Coalition reports eight traffic fatalities during the fourth quarter of 2018, October 1 through December 31, in Licking County. Of the eight fatalities, two involved drivers not wearing their seatbelt, and another involved a motorist who tested positive for drugs. During this time last year, there were also eight reported fatal crashes. “A recent concern for Licking County is the occurrence of crashes involving a driver under the influence of drugs,” said Jon Kraus, Safe Communities Coordinator at LCHD. In just the last five months, two out of the ten total fatal crashes involved motorists who tested positive for illegal drugs. In one case, the driver was estimated to be going 80-90 mph. More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 01/04/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – See what's happening this month at LCHD! More...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 01/03/2019 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) encourages participation in Licking County Soil and Water Conversation District's (LCSWCD) River Round Up Poster Contest. The deadline for submission is February 1, 2019 and the winning individual receives $100 cash with an additional $500 in scholarship money! The River Round Up Poster Contest is open to all school-aged youth in primary, secondary schools (public, private, and home school; K-12) or school-aged youth living in Licking County. Posters should reflect water pollution awareness and encourage volunteer participation in the River Round Up. Prizes will be awarded to students and their respective schools. The winning individual will receive $100 in prize money and winner’s school will receive a $500 scholarship to use for advancing science and art programs. Up to two honorable mentions will receive a $250 scholarship each for their school. The grand prize also includes having the winning poster used as the primary electronic marketing picture for the 2019 River Round Up. All entries will be displayed on the River Round Up Facebook page. Winning posters will be displayed at a River Round Up registration site on Saturday, September 7, 2019. More...

Health Commissioner Editorials


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It appears more and more likely that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak will become a world-wide pandemic. CDC officials recently stated that it is no longer a question of "if" but "when" the new coronavirus will spread in the United States. The general public are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, but that will likely change, and now is the time to take steps to prepare for the impact of a pandemic. Businesses, schools, healthcare providers, government agencies, and non-profits, should all be reviewing, or creating, their Continuity of Operations Plans (COOP) and Continuity of Government (COG) plans. Reduced staffing levels can have a major impact on workplaces due to workers that are sick or deceased, as well as those who are quarantined because they have been exposed to an infected person, are home caring for a sick family member, are unable to arrange childcare if schools are closed, are avoiding crowded areas, or are volunteering as part of the emergency response. More...
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak a global health emergency. This is largely due to concerns about the potential spread of the disease to countries with weak public health systems who lack the resources to respond to cases that occur in their communities. In the U.S. and in Ohio, we have a robust public health system, that, while underfunded, is prepared to respond to new cases of this disease. During the H1N1 flu pandemic response in 2009-10, the Licking County Health Department staff vaccinated 25,000 residents, holding mass vaccination clinics at school buildings across the county and at the health department’s clinic. H1N1 was also a novel (new) virus strain which increased the risk of rapid spread. Because it was new, no one had immunity to the virus, and no vaccine was available. Over time, a vaccine was approved, and the CDC prioritized high risk populations to get the first doses until supplies increased and the vaccine was available to everyone. H1N1 is still one of the dominant flu strains circulating each year and is included in the current flu vaccine. More...
Your voice matters, stand up and be counted. In 2020 there will be multiple opportunities to be counted to help inform policy and resource allocation decisions that will impact our community for years to come. The biggest undertaking in 2020 is the U.S. Census. Census forms will be mailed to homes and census takers will be visiting residents across the county as part of a Constitutionally required count of residents that has been done once every 10 years since 1790. The Census results determine how many seats in Congress each state gets and helps determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into states and communities each year. This data also is used by state and local governments to determine the priorities in communities across Ohio and spending for everything from roads and schools to community grants and public health funding. Also happening in Licking County in January, the Licking County Health Department, Mental Health and Recovery for Licking and Knox Counties, and the Licking County Community Health Improvement Committee will be sending out Community Health Assessment (CHA) questionnaires to 1,000 randomly selected households. These confidential surveys help us determine the health status and needs of Licking County residents. Everything from the rate of tobacco use, to barriers in accessing health care, and even breast and colon cancer screening rates, are determined by the results of the CHA survey. This data is used to make strategic decisions about local public health system programs, priorities, and funding for the next three years. More...
We all want our Christmas to be merry and bright. By following some simple safety tips we can avoid some all too common holiday mishaps. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that in 2018 there were an estimated 226,100 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments and 17 deaths. Holiday Toy Shopping Safety Tips from the CPSC and the Licking County Child Injury Prevention Program: • Follow age guidelines and other safety information on the toy packaging. Choose toys that match your child’s interests and abilities. • Get safety gear, especially helmets, for scooters, bikes, and riding toys. Helmets should fit properly and be worn at all times. • Keep small balls and toys with small parts away from children younger than 3. • Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than 8. Throw out broken or deflated balloons as fast as possible. More...
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local health departments, and other clinical and public health partners are investigating a multistate outbreak of lung injury associated with use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products. As of late October, over 1,600 cases of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI) have been reported to CDC from 49 states (all except Alaska), as well as 34 deaths, and the numbers continue to rise. The explosion of vaping among youth in our high and middle schools has been a cause for alarm in the education and public health systems for the past few years. Adolescents are especially sensitive to nicotine’s addictive effects because their brains are still developing. Nicotine can have long term impacts on brain development and can result in rewiring of the adolescent brain to make them more easily addicted to other drugs. Nicotine addiction may also lead to future tobacco use, and all the negative health impacts associated with those products. The health effects of vaping have not been adequately studied, and while the FDA has the authority, they have not finalized safety regulations on the vaping industry or their products, so we may continue to see more short and long-term health impacts over time. More...
Transportation, which may include owning a reliable vehicle, having access to a robust transit system, living in places with safe streets with sidewalks, bike lanes, and crosswalks, has a major impact on a person’s health status and life expectancy. Health is about more than access to healthcare, in fact, only 20% of our health status is determined by our access to, and the quality of, healthcare services. Our health behaviors, like tobacco use, physical activity and diet account for 30% of our health status. The remaining 50% of our health is determined by things like education, employment, income, family and social support, community safety, access to healthy foods, access to safe sidewalks and parks, and access to reliable transportation or an effective transit system. Transportation impacts many of those other health determinants. Safe, affordable, and reliable transportation is critical in order to get to jobs on time, participate in after-school and recreational activities, get to medical appointments, access healthy food options, attend social service programs, connect with family and friends, and participate in educational activities. Low income neighborhoods often suffer the most as a result of “incomplete streets” where the lack of pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure, combined with an inadequate transit system, create barriers to achieving optimal health. The Licking County Health Department has developed on-line maps identifying local recreational activities, including parks and trails, and a Healthy Food Access map showing stores that offer healthier food options and which ones accept SNAP and WIC benefits. Many low-income homes are located in “food deserts” where, without reliable transportation, there are no stores that sell fresh fruits and vegetables, resulting in limited healthy nutrition options for those families. More...
The Ohio Department of Health recently reported a drop of 22% in the number of fatalities due to unintentional drug overdose in 2018. While that is encouraging news, there were still 3,764 Ohio residents who died due to unintentional drug overdoses last year. Ohioans were more than three times as likely to have died from an overdose than from a motor vehicle accident in 2018. In Licking County, the number of unintentional overdose deaths of county residents dropped from 41 in 2017, to 40 in 2018 (-2.5%), however, the number of unintentional overdose deaths occurring in the county rose from 35 to 42, a 20% increase. Relying on statistics to tell the story can be dangerous. Simply reading that the number of deaths dropped by 22% in Ohio delivers a much different message than hearing that the number of overdose deaths rose by 20% in Licking County. The state data reports deaths by the county of residence, and the Licking County Health Department’s Overdose Fatality Review Committee tracks deaths that occur within the county. These are both valid statements, and together they help give a better view of the ongoing impact of the opioid epidemic. As public health officials, we pride ourselves on making data-informed decisions, tracking disease rates, causes of death, and a myriad of other community health status indicators. Unfortunately, there are limits to relying on statistics. More...
ear-to-date, there have been 45 cases of Lyme disease reported to the Licking County Health Department. This is nearly three times as many cases than at this point last year-with 16 reported by July 2018. It is more than double the total for all of 2018 when there were 21 total reported cases. Black-legged ticks, which have spread across Ohio in recent years, can carry the bacteria responsible for causing Lyme. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic “bulls-eye” skin rash. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. If left untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. There is some debate about why the number of Lyme cases continues to grow in Ohio. The spread of black-legged ticks certainly is key, but where the ticks have been established, like in Licking County, the question is, “Are more ticks infected or are more cases being caught by healthcare providers?” My suspicion is that it is a combination of the two. Because Lyme disease symptoms are common to many other illnesses, including common viral infections, and because Lyme disease transmission is fairly new to Ohio, it is often mis-diagnosed and under-reported. Increased public education and provider awareness results in higher case counts, however, a Lyme diagnosis is sometimes missed until symptoms have progressed. More...
Over the past few years we have been hearing a lot about Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), but most people are not aware of the impact that HABs have had on the public drinking water systems and recreational areas across Ohio. Cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae) are microscopic organisms found naturally in surface water that can sometimes multiply to form harmful algal blooms (HABs). HABs are “harmful” because they can produce toxins capable of causing illness or irritation, liver damage, and sometimes even death, in pets, livestock and humans. Excess nitrogen and phosphorus that enter lakes and streams can feed these algae and promote rapid growth, or blooms. These nutrients typically come from runoff of over-fertilized farm fields and lawns, from malfunctioning septic systems, and manure run-off from livestock operations. More...
The movement to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco and vaping products to 21-years-old is gaining momentum in Ohio and nationally. The Tobacco-21 policy has been around for a while, with 475 cities and counties, and 14 states, raising their tobacco purchase age from 18 to 21 in recent years. In Ohio at least 22 local cities, including Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati, and one county, have passed Tobacco-21 ordinances. Currently, Licking County does not have any Tobacco-21 ordinances, although discussions have begun in both Newark and Granville. Governor DeWine included a Tobacco-21 provision in his executive budget proposal. The policy was not included in the House budget version, and the Senate is currently drafting their budget proposal. If not addressed in the budget bill, the legislation may be introduced in a separate bill by proponents in the legislature. The U.S. Senate has introduced a national Tobacco-21 proposal as well. More...
Measles cases are on the rise across the globe, including the U.S., where the virus was declared eliminated in 2000. Why is measles making a comeback? In some hard-hit countries, it is due to war, civil unrest, or other barriers to preventive healthcare access. But in the U.S., it is spreading due to unvaccinated international travelers who become infected and return to their communities and infect other unvaccinated people. Measles virus spreads through coughing and sneezing, and it is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected. More...
Each year the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps report is released. The rankings are a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, with a goal of improving health outcomes for all and closing the health gaps between those with the most and least opportunities for good health. Last year the Licking County Health Department released a life expectancy map of Licking County which highlighted the health disparities between our residents based on where they are born, with some areas experiencing nearly fifteen years less life expectancy than residents born in other parts of the county. The Health Rankings and Roadmaps takes a similar approach in comparing the health status of counties based on Health Outcomes and Health Factors. For 2019, Licking County was ranked 25th out of Ohio’s 88 counties for Health Outcomes, and 19th in Health Factors. These results are up from 32nd and 29th in the 2018 report, respectively. More...
During its February 19th meeting, the Licking County Board of Health voted to not allow the establishment of a syringe exchange program (SEP) in the county. Under Ohio law, a SEP may only operate legally if established by the board of health in that locality. ORC 3707.57 Bloodborne infectious disease prevention programs. “A board of health may establish a bloodborne infectious disease prevention program. The cost of the program is the responsibility of the board of health. A board of health that establishes a bloodborne infectious disease prevention program shall determine the manner in which the program is operated and the individuals who are eligible to participate. “ The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recognize SEPs as effective tools to reduce the spread of HIV and hepatitis in communities with significant injection drug use. In Ohio, the CDC identified 11 counties that were in the top 220 counties vulnerable to experiencing or at-risk of outbreaks of hepatitis and HIV due to injection drug use. Those counties were Brown, Adams, Scioto, Clinton, Highland, Pike, Gallia, Athens, Vinton, Jackson, and Meigs – all Appalachian counties. There are currently 19 counties in Ohio served by SEPs. The other 69, or 78%, of counties, including Licking, do not have SEPs operating in their communities. Last year the Ohio Department of Health asked for, and the CDC granted, a state-wide determination of need to allow federal funds to be used to support SEPs in the state. However, the state law remains unchanged, and the decision about implementing SEPs is still up to the local communities. More...
Last summer the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) declared a statewide outbreak of hepatitis A. Outbreaks in neighboring states had begun to spread into Ohio, although Licking County had not seen any unusual activity at that time. In 2019 we already have more cases reported than in all of 2018, so the outbreak has reached Licking County. Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable liver disease that usually spreads when a person ingests fecal matter, even in microscopic amounts, from contact with objects, food or drinks contaminated by the stool of an infected person. Hepatitis A can also be spread from close personal contact with an infected person, such as through sex. Symptoms of hepatitis A include fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, clay-colored stools and jaundice. People with hepatitis A can experience mild illness lasting a few weeks to severe illness lasting several months.More...
Governor Mike DeWine has established a Home Visiting Advisory Committee that is charged with analyzing the current situation and making recommendations for change that will result in tripling the number of families currently served by state funded home visiting programs. This is largely in response to Ohio’s abysmal infant mortality rates. Each year approximately 1,000 infants in Ohio die before they reach their first birthday. Ohio’s rate of 7.2 deaths per 1,000 live births is tied with Georgia for 8th worst in the country. The average U.S. infant mortality rate is 5.8 per 1,000. Most shocking is the racial disparity, with black infants in Ohio dying at three times the rate as white infants. In Licking County during 2018 we had 10 infants who died before their first birthday, for a rate of 5.0 per 1,000, although our three-year average remains high at 7.3 per 1,000. The leading causes of infant death in Ohio are prematurity (born before 37 weeks of pregnancy), birth defects, obstetric conditions, external injury and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Improvements in early prenatal care and making sure families have the information and resources they need to get a healthy start can help reduce many infant mortality risk factors.More...
The holidays are over, it’s dark by the time you get home from work, and it’s cold and dreary outside. These factors can contribute to negative mental and physical health impacts from increased depression, seasonal affective disorder, reduced physical activity, more screen time, less time outdoors, increased snacking, and weight gain. In January, health clubs and fitness centers are packed with well-intentioned people trying to lose those holiday pounds or reach a new year’s resolution to get into shape, but by March many have given up on their lofty goals. While fitness centers are a great fit for many people, making changes in diet and lifestyle have longer lasting impacts for most of us. But take heart, now that we are into a new year, the days are actually starting to get longer. Moving from only 9 hours and 21 minutes of daylight at the end of December toward our peak of 15 hours in mid-June. The change is only a couple of minutes a day, but small changes add up to brighter days. We can follow the same model that by adopting small changes, a lasting foundation of healthy choices can be maintained all year long. Some winter-time wellness ideas:More...
Sharing a meal with family and friends is an important part of celebrating this time of year. Unfortunately, a foodborne illness can ruin your holidays faster than getting a lump of coal in your stocking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year 48 million (1 in 6) people in the United States get sick from a foodborne illness. Of those, 128,000 require hospitalization and 3,000 die. Foods can become contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites, or toxins during production, transportation, preparation, or service. The recent outbreak of E. coli linked to romaine lettuce is an example of a food becoming contaminated during production. Raw meats are often contaminated during processing, but thorough cooking usually destroys those germs. Because lettuce is eaten raw, and simple rinsing of the lettuce is not an adequate way to remove all the contaminants, the CDC advised discarding any romaine lettuce. It is much more common that food becomes contaminated during preparation. This includes food prepared at home and in restaurants.More...
One of the consequences of the opioid epidemic is an increase in bloodborne infectious disease rates associated with using and sharing dirty needles to inject heroin and other drugs. In 2015, the Ohio legislature authorized boards of health in each county to establish a “Bloodborne Infectious Disease Prevention Program” – more commonly known as syringe or needle exchange programs. Licking County, like most of Ohio, has seen increased transition to the injection of illicit drugs as tighter regulations and the closure of “pill mills” have made access to prescription opioids more difficult. Injection of drugs increases the likelihood of fatal overdose and provides opportunities for injection site and bloodborne infections to spread. The most common bloodborne infection is Hepatitis C with rates that have tripled over the past 10 years. Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the blood-borne Hepatitis C virus. For some people, Hepatitis C is a short-term illness but for most, it becomes a long-term, chronic infection that can cause serious health problems, including liver damage, cirrhosis, liver cancer, and even death. More...
Health disparities are preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health, that are experienced by socially disadvantaged populations. Updated data released from the U.S. Small-Area Life Expectancy Estimates Project (USALEEP) illustrates health disparities in Licking County, where there is up to a 14.9-year difference in life expectancy for a child born today across different communities within the county. Many of our communities have life expectancies below Ohio’s average of 77.9 years, and well below the national average of 79.1 years. The highest life expectancy for a census tract within the county is 84.3 years and the lowest is 69.4 years. Two-thirds of Licking County census tracts have life expectancies below the state average. Race or ethnicity, sex, sexual identity, age, disability, socioeconomic status, and geographic location all contribute to an individual’s ability to achieve good health. In Licking County, our greatest health disparities are tied to areas that are home to large numbers of lower-income residents. Many of those residents are living in rental housing, lack reliable transportation, have lower graduation rates, higher smoking rates, less access to healthy food options, and other factors that contribute to this disparity. The Licking County Health Department is using this new USALEEP data to drive discussions about improving health equity. Health equity is the principle underlying a commitment to reduce or eliminate disparities in health and in its determinants, including social determinants. Pursuing health equity means striving for the highest possible standard of health for all people and giving special attention to the needs of those at greatest risk of poor health, based on social conditions. More...
Stigma can be defined as a mark of disgrace or shame associated with a particular circumstance or person. For addicted people and those in recovery, and more generally, those with any type of substance abuse or mental health disorder, stereotyping leads to prejudice, discrimination, fear, shame, distrust, and creates additional barriers to treatment and recovery. Addiction-related stigma not only impacts the person hurting from addiction, but also causes pain for family members, employers, and friends surrounding that individual. It can also create additional barriers that prevents a person from seeking the support that they need. The behavior of stigma often leads the public to believe that addiction is not a treatable health condition. Therefore, funding toward treatment or harm reduction strategies is frequently cut short. Those who are uninformed or uneducated about addiction may think that drug users have a personal weakness or moral failing which led them to make poor choices, or that they simply lack the willpower or the moral fiber to choose to stop using their drug. More...
Growing up, I always was active. I lived in Bucyrus until I was nine and living in town made it easy to be active where I could ride my bike, play with neighbors, and walk to school. In fourth grade we moved into the country, 10 miles from town, and my activities changed to playing in the woods or the creek, fishing, hunting, exploring the outdoors, and playing school sports. As an adult, I spend my day behind a desk and drive to work, so being active is just not part of my daily routine. Being active used to come naturally, but now it’s something I have to think about, make time for, and work at. This challenge is all too familiar to most Ohio adults, and unfortunately, many of our children also spend their days behind a desk, on a couch, or staring at a screen, instead of exploring, playing, and engaging in physical activities. More...
The U.S. Surgeon General released its first report of the Advisory Committee on Smoking in Health in 1964, which identified smoking as a cause of lung cancer and chronic bronchitis. Despite significant progress since that first Surgeon General’s report, issued over 50 years ago, smoking remains the single largest cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, and Licking County is no exception. We now know that in the United States, smoking causes 87 percent of lung cancer deaths, 32 percent of coronary heart disease deaths, and 79 percent of all cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). One out of three cancer deaths are caused by smoking. Smoking causes colorectal and liver cancer and increases the failure rate of treatment for all cancers. Smoking also causes diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and immune system weakness, and increases the risk for tuberculosis disease and death, ectopic (tubal) pregnancy and impaired fertility, cleft lip and cleft palates in babies of women who smoke during early pregnancy, erectile dysfunction, and age-related macular degeneration. More...
We had unusually warm temperatures in May, and now that June is here, we are well into the growing season. That means it’s a great time to visit one of Licking County’s farmers markets. By mid-June, vegetables like lettuce, spinach, kale, broccoli, peas, beans, and squash are all in season. Even sweet corn, peppers, and tomatoes are starting to ripen. Fruits like strawberries, blueberries, and cherries ripen in June, with peaches, raspberries, and apples close behind. Eating fresh, locally grown produce is a healthy option in many ways. It supports local farmers and helps preserve farmland. Eliminating the middle-man and buying direct from producers saves money and stimulates our local economy. Supporting local farmers promotes sustainability and reduces transportation and storage costs. More...
During the recent Addiction Forum, co-hosted by the Newark Advocate, participants from many local public and non-profit agencies, recovering addicts, family members impacted by addiction, and other concerned residents, met to discuss the impacts, causes, and solutions to Licking County’s addiction crisis. It became clear from the conversations, that while Licking County has an opioid problem, evidenced by the overdose emergency responses and fatalities, opioids are just one drug in a broad spectrum of substances abused. In fact, those suffering from addiction are often using multiple drugs, and opioids like heroin, and especially fentanyl, are what triggers a critical overdose. Other drugs often have similarly devastating outcomes resulting from damage done over years of abuse, or from the consequences of poor decisions made while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. More...
The first week each April is designated as National Public Health Week. We talk about the term “public health,” but the reality is that typically most people have a limited idea of what public health is. Maybe they think of immunizations, or free clinics, or even inspecting restaurants. So much of public health’s work goes unnoticed until there is a disease outbreak or other event. So perhaps the starting point should be “What is public health?” While the health care system provides treatment for sick individuals, the public health system looks at the health of the community and works to prevent people from getting sick or injured in the first place. Health care and public health work as partners, we regularly collaborate, and sometimes provide similar services. Public health focuses on the prevention of communicable diseases, early detection of cancer and other chronic diseases through public awareness and screenings, providing safety net services when needed, reducing injuries and accidental deaths, monitoring disease rates and assessing the community’s health, and helping people obtain their optimal health throughout their lives. More...
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. In the United States, and in Licking County, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths that affects both men and women. This type of cancer includes cancer of the colon and rectum. Each year in Licking County, an average of 80 residents are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, with over half of those cases being diagnosed in the late stage, and 30 of those people will die due to colorectal cancer. The good news is that many of those deaths can be avoided by screening and early detection. More...
The number of Lyme Disease cases in Ohio has dramatically risen over the past 15 years. It was not long ago that when an Ohioan was diagnosed with Lyme disease, the automatic assumption was that they had traveled to the east coast states where they got infected. That is no longer the case. In fact, most of Ohio’s counties have reported human Lyme Disease cases over the past 10 years. In 2017, the Licking County Health Department reported 20 cases of local residents diagnosed with Lyme Disease, with the majority of the cases diagnosed in June and July. More...
It’s a new year, and each January many of us resolve to make a positive change in our health behaviors like quitting smoking, losing weight, or exercising. But, most of us will fall short of our goals by March. Those are all great health goals to pursue, and this year I propose that we build a team to help us succeed together. If you are struggling with changing your behaviors to improve your health, chances are you know one or more family member, friend, or co-worker who are facing the same challenges. Team-up with that person, or join an existing group, to work together, provide support, and hold each other accountable. More...
‘Tis the season, flu season, that is! Cold weather and shorter days drive people indoors, and increased social activities like family gatherings and shopping raise the chance of spreading diseases, including the flu. Many people think of the “flu” as any viral illness, from a bad cold to a stomach virus. Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness, caused by the influenza virus, that can cause mild to severe illnesses resulting in hospitalization or even death. Some people are more likely to develop severe illness from the flu, especially people 65 years and older, pregnant women, children younger than 5-years-old, and people with certain long-term health conditions like diabetes, asthma, chronic lung disease, and heart disease. More...
Environmental Health – it’s probably not what you think. As a core public health discipline, Environmental Health programs focus on preventing disease and creating environments where people can live safe and healthy lives. The term “environmental” leads many people to think these programs focus on protecting the environment. While that is partially true, the key word is “health.” These programs are concerned with addressing the health impact of places and things that surround us, including both the natural and the built environment. Food Safety programs are fundamental public health programs that ensure a safe food supply. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases each year in the United States. Thorough and frequent inspections combined with food handler education can significantly reduce the risk of foodborne disease outbreaks linked to places where food is prepared and served. More...
Every October we see a flood of pink to support National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Sometimes these displays aim to raise funds for breast cancer research and patient or survivor support, other times the pink displays are a subtle reminder to increase breast cancer awareness. What can we do with these pink reminders of breast cancer? Simple things, like encouraging the women in our lives to talk with their doctors about getting mammograms, or sharing the important fact that screenings and early detection can result in successful treatment of breast cancer. Every year, in Licking County, an average of 120 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 24 women will die due to breast cancer. Approximately 70 percent of these cancers will be identified in the early stages of the disease… but we can do better. More...
Prompted by the recent tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, the American College of Physicians (ACP) took a position recognizing hate crimes as a public health issue. In its new policy statement, the ACP sees an important role for physicians to educate the public that hate crimes are a public health concern, exacting a toll on the health of those directly victimized and on the health of entire communities. The impacts of hate result in health inequities and disparities that prevent our citizens and communities from achieving optimal health and wellness. When we see reports of attacks motivated by hate in the news, such as mass shootings and other hate-related crimes, it stirs emotions and grabs our attention. And like most public health issues, the number of reported injuries and deaths linked to bigotry, hate and discrimination is just the tip of the iceberg. We know from experience that the vast majority of the damaging health impacts such as depression, hypertension, stress, cardiovascular disease and even death, often hide below the surface of our public consciousness. More...
Studies have shown that social and environmental factors, called “Social Determinants of Health,” have twice the impact on a person’s risk of premature death compared to the quality of their health care system. These Social Determinants of Health include economic stability, neighborhood and physical environment, education, access to healthy food, and community and social supports. So even though health insurance reform has been at the center of political and public debate in recent months, there are other determinants of health beyond health care that impact our health. The Licking County Health Department, along with other national, state, and local public health groups, is advocating for our local and state governments to adopt Health in All Policies initiatives. Often, routine policy and regulatory decisions related to things like housing, transportation, safety, parks, playgrounds, walkability, education, and employment are adopted by local and state governments without viewing them through a public health impact lens. More...
It’s the three words that children fear and parents cheer – Back to School! Whether it’s a kindergartner going to school for the first time, or a teen returning after summer break, parents want them to have a great school year and try to eliminate any barriers that could prevent them from recognizing their full potential. While tasks like back-to-school shopping for clothes, shoes, and school supplies are easy to remember and heavily promoted in ads, making sure your child’s vaccinations are up-to-date is easy to forget – but far more important. School-aged children, from preschoolers to college students, need vaccines. Making sure that children receive all their vaccinations on time is one of the most important things you can do as a parent to ensure your children’s long-term health — as well as the health of friends, classmates, and others in your community. Missing vaccinations may cause the school to exclude your child from classes, especially if there is an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease in the community. More...
In Licking County, like most communities, we tend to live inside our own bubble. We often look at how we are doing compared to last year, or compared to similar communities in Ohio, but we seldom look outside our borders to assess our performance. Our personal health, as well as the health of our community should be important to everyone. Our health directly correlates with healthcare spending, health insurance costs, workplace productivity, happiness, and life expectancy. In the 2017 County Health Rankings for Ohio, published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Licking County ranked 31st (out of 88) in the state in “Health Outcomes” – a measure of how long people live and how healthy people feel while alive. Additionally, our county ranked 20th in “Health Factors” – a measure of health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic, and physical environment factors. A quick look at these rankings may make you wonder why we were low in Health Outcomes, but we would be missing the bigger picture. More...
Licking County, we need to talk. “We need to talk” is almost never a good thing to hear, especially when it comes from someone you are dating. In this case, we need to talk about Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). An old foe, gonorrhea, has been on the rise. Chlamydia, another STD, remains the most common communicable disease reported to the Licking County Health Department with 640 cases in 2016, but gonorrhea rates have increased by 26 percent in the past year with 219 reported cases. Gonorrhea can infect men and women and is spread through intimate contact with an infected individual. Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious health problems in women and men. A serious public health concern is that gonorrhea has progressively developed resistance to the antibiotic drugs prescribed for treatment. Fortunately, gonorrhea can still be cured with the right medication. Sexually active women younger than 25 years or women with new or multiple sex partners, or a sex partner who has an STD should be tested every year. Most women with gonorrhea do not have any symptoms. Even when a woman has symptoms, they are often mild and can be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. Women with gonorrhea are at risk of developing serious complications from the infection, even if they don’t have any symptoms. More...
It is well documented that Ohio is experiencing an opiate crisis. Initiatives at the state level as well as locally in Licking County are working to fight opiate and prescription abuse. Those initiatives include combating drug abuse on several fronts which involve law enforcement, public health, addiction and treatment professionals, healthcare providers, educators, parents, and many others. The Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS) is a statewide electronic database that stores all controlled substance dispensing information. OARRS is a tool that can be used to address prescription drug diversion and abuse. It serves multiple functions as a patient care tool, an early warning system for drug epidemics, and an investigative tool for drug diversion and insurance fraud. It helps prescribers and pharmacists avoid potentially life-threatening drug interactions as well as identify individuals fraudulently obtaining controlled substances from multiple health care providers, a practice commonly referred to as “doctor shopping.” Thanks, in part, to the expanded use of OARRS, enforcement actions against “pill mills,” and revised prescribing guidelines, the total number of opioid doses dispensed to Ohio patients decreased by 162 million doses (or 20.4 percent) from 2012 to 2016. Even with this 20 percent decrease, there were still 631 million doses of opioids prescribed in Ohio during 2016. That equates to 54 doses for every person in Ohio. To learn more about OARRS, please visit pharmacy.ohio.gov. More...
With all the political posturing around the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and calls to repeal and replace it, I want to make my position as a public health professional known. Health insurance provides access to health care when needed and provides what any other insurance does, a margin of safety against the economic impacts of an adverse event. And from a public health perspective, health insurance coverage is linked to better health outcomes. Access to screening, preventive care, early diagnosis and treatment, all improve health outcomes while also lowering overall health care costs. Ohio was one of 31 states to expand Medicaid coverage under the ACA for individuals with incomes up to 138 percent of the poverty line, or $16,243 per year. Previously, eligibility had been limited to poor children, parents and the disabled. This expansion resulted in 702,000 new Medicaid expansion enrollees in Ohio. The most common enrollees were unmarried white men with a high-school diploma or less. Forty-three percent of the enrollees were employed, but did not have access to health insurance through their employer. These are the same clients that we struggled to navigate to care before the expansion. More...