The Clinton County Health Department moved into its new location at 1234 Rossville Ave. Suite B in Frankfort on Dec. 7 after spending nearly eight years at 400 E. Clinton Street. The local health department shares the building with Health Communities of Clinton County, which occupies Suite A.
“We got everything pretty much under the roof,” Administrator Rodney Wann said. “We are still working out of boxes, but most of all our services are back up and running at this point.
“We will eventually have an open house when we get COVID behind us,” he added. “When the time comes, we will certainly do it.”
Wann said that moving into a larger and more collaborative space has been a three-year process.
“I started out as the pipe dream of a couple executive director types in the county who were running agencies and wanted to know how we could best collaborate with what would be a common clientele,” Wann said. “We searched several buildings and opportunities and had a loose plan of what we wanted to do. We looked at two or three different buildings in the city before coming across this one.
“It was also fueled by the fact that, when IU Health came in, they had a different plan and model for their hospital which did not include our immunization clinic,” Wann added. “That was probably the final push. It was no longer a luxury – it was a necessity. We did not have enough room to accommodate the vaccination clinic. We had to look for something that would keep us all under one roof, offer better service for the community and opportunities for our programs to grow.”
Waan says working in the new building has been a big improvement over the cramped quarters on E. Clinton St.
“Number 1, we are not on top of each other,” he said. “Public-health-wise, we are trying to stay social-distanced as we work with programs and clients. We were in a very tight space at the old space. We have between 30 or 40 percent more working space. It gave us an opportunity to review programs that we are supporting – how we are supporting them and how we can make them better in the future.
“Having all immunizations under one roof is probably better for the clients,” Wann added. “We never realized how confusing it was for clients (having immunizations in two different locations). We don’t have to worry about that any longer. I think this serves the community better, and that is what we are aiming to do. No matter what you are here for, you are at the right spot.”
Having Healthy Communities of Clinton County under the same roof improves things for both the two health care entities and their common clientele.
“We have a collaborative effort with Healthy Communities,” Wann said. “Their programs feed into ours. I like to explain to the general public that (Healthy Communities) offers community health programs that the local health departments in Indiana don’t have the staff to do... Partnering with them allows us to tap into their resources and programs.”
Wann said that he expects that the county health department will receive 100 doses of COVID-19 vaccine within the next week.
“We are ramping up to be able to deliver those vaccines,” Wann said. “After discussing with many medical professionals here, we will consider doing the hundred doses here at the new facility before we can get a large enough amount to justify using the Edward Jones Building (at the Fairgrounds).”
Wann received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday at Witham Hospital in Lebanon.
“It was very quick,” he said. “They have a very efficient process there at Witham. The staff is very friendly and upbeat. We had additional Clinton County folks get their shot while I was there.
“Like most vaccinations, it wasn’t an issue,” Wann added about his experience. “My arm is feeling fine. I think it is a sound vaccine. I think we should be very fortunate to think that people have been working on a coronavirus-type vaccine for years. Fortunately, they were able to take that information and hone it into a vaccine that was available much quicker because of their past research. I feel that in maybe a year or two from now, people will realize how important that was. They gave us a head-start in getting this vaccine ready. So, I recommend everyone seriously consider, unless there is a medical indication not to, that they consider getting this and adding to the herd immunity that we really need in the US to put this in our rearview.”