For more experts, more mobility to better safeguard Saginaw
For more experts, more mobility to better safeguard Saginaw
to public health for you and your family on November 3
YOU benefit from the services of the Saginaw County Health Department daily if you:
- Eat restaurant food – we educate staff and inspect kitchens to keep you safe from food borne illnesses.
- Own a well – we test the water for safety and purity. We do the same for public swimming pools, recreational swimming areas and spas.
- Spend time outdoors – we monitor for West Nile virus and EEE to protect you from mosquito-borne illnesses.
- Send children to school –we keep them on the path to learning by provide hearing and vision screenings, immunizations, and communicable disease prevention.
- Go to work or visit public buildings – we monitor air quality to protect you from diseases
- Visit a body art studio or salon for permanent make up – we inspect their operations and ensure their equipment is properly sterilized to protect you from bloodborne diseases.
- Are impacted by disaster or emergency – we deploy experts to protect you from contaminated flood waters, pandemics and more.
The Saginaw County Health Department safeguards Saginaw from COVID-19 and all other diseases. They work diligently to make sure that our air, water, food, schools, businesses, stores, salons, restaurants, and neighborhoods are safe. They not only provide us with direct health services, they also develop and implement programs that prevent disease.
About the Ballot Proposal
On the November 3rd ballot (in the Proposal Section), voters are being asked to support 0.48 mills to provide necessary funding so that the health department can continue to manage the services it provides you and everyone in Saginaw County. The total cost would not exceed $2.08 per month per $100,000 of market value or your property. That’s $25 annually – less than the cost of one family dinner out. See the proposal language here .
What the Millage Pays For
- Sustained operation of 1-2 mobile units returning services to out-county areas and enhancing services beyond our building.
- A full-time epidemiologist to delve into our higher than average cancer, asthma, heart disease and mortality rates.
- Instead of one nurse, a dedicated team of nurses for investigation and surveillance of more than 100 diseases including flu, hepatitis A, and COVID-19.
- New equipment and increased testing capacity for the public health laboratory.
- Enhanced public communication for reliable health information and education.
Thanks to a partnership with CMU Health, the Saginaw County Health Department has a valued addition in part-time medical director Delicia Pruitt, MD. And while we continue to work diligently to improve the health of our entire population, the health department is still fighting the fight with too few resources to truly safeguard Saginaw.
That’s because public health funding has drastically declined in Michigan in the last two decades. At the same time, mandated services local health department must provide have increased, including unprecedented responses to new and emerging infectious diseases like swine flu, ebola, H1N1 and COVID-19.
Living in a community like ours with not one, but two, world-class hospitals is exceptional. But when disease rates are disproportionately high for a population our size, we should feel unsettled. These aren’t problems that hospitals or doctors fix. These are public health problems impacting our community’s vibrancy.:
- Saginaw ranks 77th out of 83 counties for health outcomes.
- S. News and World Report Healthiest Communities for 2019 rates Saginaw Co. with a 36, the lowest in our region and lower than the Michigan average.
- Our infant mortality rate of 8.6 per 100,000 is among the highest in the state.
- Our cancer rates are higher than the state and national averages, particularly for prostate, breast and lung cancer.
- Our morbidity ranking of 81 is the highest in a 14-county area.
- 35.5% of our population is overweight.
- 14.5% are food insecure.
- Among our Medicare population, 61.4% have high blood pressure and 30.8% have heart disease.
- All this despite 94.1% of our community having health insurance and 77.3% of adults having routine check-ups.
Solutions require more public health experts and more mobility to reach people county-wide…and better technology and more robust data to investigate, analyze and understand how and why these problems are occurring.
With an already stretched team, the health department must still respond to emergencies and emerging diseases. During the COVID-19 pandemic they have shifted from their normal jobs to:
- Continuously monitor the latest developments and findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to become the local “experts.”
- Field more than 50,000 incoming phone calls and provided guidance to healthcare providers, long-term care facilities, schools, businesses and households while addressing concerns of citizens observing non-compliance to orders
- Initiate more than 10,000 phone calls in our efforts to do contact tracing to reduce the spread of the disease – for every positive case, there have been an average of 3.52 close contacts for each. During the peak, some positive cases had upwards of 50 close contacts.
- Communicate daily with community leaders and the general public through emails, social media, web resources, traditional media, webinars, FB live events, and more.
- Launch an awareness campaign in our minority communities, which are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19
- Collect data without the help of an epidemiologist (we had a grad student for a few months)
- Ensure adequate testing for our hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, businesses, and citizens – Saginaw was the first to send a probably COVID-19 sample to the state lab for testing
- Issue local health orders to protect our residents based on guidance from MDHSS and CDC
We encourage you to vote YES! To Public Health and invite you to learn more about the Saginaw County Health Department:
Live updates every Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. on Facebook @SaginawHealth