Board of health accepts nurse resignation, hires replacement

T-L Photo/SHELLEY HANSON DEPUTY HEALTH Commissioner Rob Sproul, left, and Tiffany Vcelka, administrative assistant and fiscal clerk, get a Belmont County Board of Health member connected to a Friday meeting via phone.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The Belmont County Board of Health accepted the resignation of one retiring nurse and hired another during a special meeting Friday.

Board members unanimously approved the resignation of nurse LeeAnn Smith, who has worked at the health department for eight years.

She has served as the infectious disease nurse and also has worked giving children immunizations.

She is leaving her position July 30 to go work with her son at the Just Meds Pharmacy in Martins Ferry, said Linda Mehl, director of nursing.

The board approved hiring Christine Jenewein as her replacement. Jenewein has been working as a temporary nurse and contact tracer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mehl said Smith would be missed at the health department.

“She’s been wonderful to work with. She does such a good job with immunizations,” Mehl said, adding Smith will train Jenewein for a month before she leaves.

Prior to the meeting, Deputy Health Commissioner Rob Sproul said the health department will hold its last Ohio Valley Mall COVID shot clinic from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at one of the center concourses. He noted that as the demand for the shot declines the health department has also decreased its clinics.

Other upcoming walk-in clinics include:

∫ 9-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. Monday at the health department;

∫ Tuesday at the following locations: 10-11 a.m. at the Martins Ferry Rec Center, 1-2 p.m. at Park Health Center for first doses, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the health department;

∫ 1-3 p.m. Wednesday at Cumberland Pointe, open to the public;

∫ July 6 at the following locations: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Powhatan Point City Building; 2-4 p.m. Shadyside Community Room; and 4:30 p.m. Shadyside Care Center.

Following the meeting, Mehl described working to vaccinate people during the past year during the pandemic as “a blur.” She said, to date, the health department alone has given more than 19,000 shots.

At the height of the vaccination clinics, the health department was up to 700-800 people per week. Now the staff is vaccinating about 100 people per week between all the sites.

She said in addition to the extra temporary nurses hired to give the shots, the health department has had many people volunteer their services to help including doctors, nurses, pharmacists and nurse practitioners.

Non-medical volunteers also helped with logistics like parking and keeping clinics organized, she added.

“It was nerve-racking … but it all seemed to work out,” Mehl said.

In other matters, the board also approved spending $42,000 total for one-time hazard pays for the 18 permanent, full-time and part-time employees of the health department for their work during the pandemic.

The amount given to each employee will depend on the amount of time they worked during the COVID response, Sproul said.


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