Health department expands hours, services

The Jackson County Health Department is continuing to make changes to better provide services to more local residents.

By offering extended hours this winter, health officials want to make it more convenient for busy people to come in for things such as flu shots, assistance with registering for government health insurance and the state’s online vaccination database, HIV and hepatitis C testing and free naloxone distribution and training.

The health department closes Dec. 14, the office, located at 801 W. Second St. in Seymour, is now open from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays. Regular hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“Our goal is to make some of our services more easily accessible to those who are needing them,” said county health officer Dr. Chris Bunce.

The evening hours are being added temporarily to gauge need and the community’s response, he added.

Not all services, such as obtaining birth and death records or inspections for permits, will be available during the extended hours due to staffing.

Hepatitis C and HIV testing are services Bunce said are important for the public, especially with the continued increase in intravenous drug use in the community.

Both tests are free and confidential, and results are available within 20 minutes.

“We strongly urge individuals to get tested, know their status and find treatment, if needed,” Bunce said.

Because hepatitis C is a “silent” disease, often with no symptoms, the only way for people to know if they have the virus is to get tested, he added.

“Hep C is one of those diseases that attacks the liver and its functions and has been known to cause cirrhosis and cancer of the liver,” he said. “It can now be treated, but you have to know you have the virus in order to not spread it and get treated for it.”

For those residents needing help signing up for health insurance, an insurance navigator will be available to assist with the enrollment process. A public health nurse also will be on site to sign up people for MyVax, a program that allows individuals to obtain and keep track of their own medical records.

Adults can receive a flu shot during extended clinic hours with no appointment needed. The health department accepts health insurance and Medicare or cash for flu vaccines.

A limited supply of naloxone, supplied by the Indiana State Department of Health, will be made available at no cost for individuals who cannot afford to purchase it on their own. Naloxone can be used to reverse the effects of overdoses of opioids including heroin.

Individuals seeking naloxone will be required to participate in a short training on the identification of a possible overdose and the administration of the product prior to receiving the naloxone.

“It is our hope that individuals will take advantage of this opportunity and provide us with additional information about services the health department might be able to offer in the future,” Bunce said of the extended hours.

If you go

Beginning this week through Dec. 14, the Jackson County Health Department, located at 801 W. Second St. in Seymour, is now open from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays. Regular hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Available services during extended clinic hours: Flu shots, assistance with registering for health insurance and the state’s online vaccination database, HIV and hepatitis C testing and free naloxone distribution and training.

For information about Jackson County Health Department’s services, call the health department at 812-522-6474.

Author photo
January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.