Government, Latest News, Preston County

Preston Health Department joins Hep C research group

KINGWOOD – The Preston County Health Department (PCHD) has joined a focus Hep C project.

According to Board of Health Director V.J. Davis, a grant from Gilead, a research company in Pittsburgh, will pay PCHD for each Hepatitis C test the department does. He said if a test is positive a confirmation, second test will be done. Davis said the amount PCHD will be paid for the tests has not yet been determined.

Dr. Fred Conley, who represents Preston Memorial Hospital on the board, said Mon General has a new infectious disease specialist. He said Dr. Achana Vasudevan said PCHD could send Hep C referrals to her. Conley said this would shorten the time it takes to receive results from confirmation tests.

PCHD is recruiting an influenza sentinel provider, according to Davis. An influenza sentinel provider conducts surveillance for influenza-like illness in collaboration with the state health department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Data reported by sentinel providers, in combination with other influenza like illness surveillance data, provides a national picture of influenza virus activity in the U.S., according to the CDC website. In other business, board members voted unanimously to hire Jennifer Nestor, a registered nurse at Preston Memorial, as a part-time diabetic educator.

Nestor replaces Meredith Sneddon, who retired in August. Sneddon taught the only diabetic program in Preston County. Conley said although Nestor is not a certified diabetic educator she is qualified for the position. He said among her qualifications is nine years as nursing director.

“I believe you must do a thousand hours as a diabetic educator before you can apply for certification,” Davis said.

Board members also discussed moving the diabetic education classes from the WVU Extension Office to Preston Memorial. No further action was taken about the possible move.

The next meeting of the Preston County Board of Health will be 7 p.m. Nov. 14.