Public Health provides annual report

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Jenna Lovaas and Jess Wiedenhoff with Jones County Public Health presented their annual report to the Jones County Supervisors during their Nov. 27 meeting.

     One item of note was the Disease & Outbreak Investigation, which is where Lovaas reports communicable diseases contracted in Jones County. The three highest diseases of report for Fiscal Year 2018 were Campylobacter (food poisoning) with 15 cases, Cryptosporidiosis (stool contamination) with 20 cases, and Hepatitis C with 13 cases.

     Lovaas said the case numbers are part of a statewide database that legally has to report when someone contracts a certain disease.

     “I automatically get a notice of cases in the county,” she said. “And then I follow up with that person.” Lovaas said some diseases can be hard to test for.

     The report also shows that 97 percent of the children in Jones County have updated immunization certificates. For the remaining 3 percent, the reasons for not having updated certificates include: provisional certificates, medical exemption, religious exemption, and simply not having a certificate.

     “Most kids are up to date on their immunization audit,” said Lovaas, “which is pretty good.”

     She said of those who don’t have updated immunizations, most of those children tend to be home-schooled.

     The annual report is available on the Public Health’s website (

     Wiedenhoff, herself, is connecting with the schools in Jones County, and is part of the Society of Public Health, both in Iowa and nationwide.

     “I get a lot of continuing education credits for my licensing,” she said of attending regional meetings.

     She is also currently working a side job assisting a University of Iowa professor in co-authoring a community health textbook.

     “It’s about how we actually do our job and analyze data,” explained Wiedenhoff.

     She said six universities in the nation have already asked to use the textbook.

     Supervisor Wayne Manternach praised Lovaas and Wiedenhoff on all of the initiatives they’ve implemented as part of Public Health.

     “You’re leading it in the right direction,” he said. “And I hope it continues down that path.”

     He said it’s exciting that Jones County is going national with Wiedenhoff’s involvement at the UI. “Who knows how far it’s going to reach,” Manternach said.

In other county business:

     The board approved the vacation of Bear Road, off Skahill Road, in Washington Township.

     • County Engineer Derek Snead reported they had four bids through an Iowa DOT letting for the 140th Avenue bridge replacement project. The lowest bid came in at $447,491.87, with an engineer’s estimate of $550,000.

     The board will award the contract at their next meeting.

     • Snead reported that Shaw Road opened to traffic last Wednesday, Nov. 19.

     • The board approved a request from County Treasurer Amy Picray to hire an additional full-time employee.

     • Lucia Herman, Community Services, and Mechelle Dhondt, with the mental health region, both met with the board to discuss options to spend down the county’s fund balance.

     Herman an office purchase plan for technology upgrades, office/equipment needs, and a new vehicle. The office upgrades come at a total of $26,500, which will be reimbursed by the mental health region. The vehicle, estimated at $48,000 would also be reimbursed.

     Manternach questioned who would own the vehicle and office equipment if the county is purchasing the items, but being reimbursed by the region. Dhondt said the county would continue to own everything.



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