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NRCHS reports no new bedbug infestations

This photo depicts an adult bedbug. Bedbugs have been discovered in a Worthington motel, as well as in a rental house in the Worthington community.

WORTHINGTON -- Nobles-Rock Community Health Services board members received an update Wednesday afternoon from sanitarian Jason Kloss on the bedbug infestations found in several Worthington properties in recent weeks.

Two of the properties are in the process of being treated, while a third has been treated and all of the mattresses and some furniture were disposed of.

Kloss said treating the properties is labor-intensive for pest control specialists, adding that it's a lot of work and there aren't enough people to help.

"It's a growing problem," he said of the bedbug issue. "It can be difficult to treat."

Kloss said he plans to keep people informed about preventing the spread of bedbugs, especially during the city-wide spring cleanup program.

"We strongly recommend that nobody grabs mattresses and bedding material at the curb," added NRCHS administrator Brad Meyer.

In other action, the board:

- Received an update from public health nurse Barb Navara on the tuberculosis outbreak. Navara said three adults and two children continue to be treated for active TB twice per week, with those medication treatments scheduled to end by May 1.

"We still have 99 clients on the LTBI (latent TB infection) that come to the office one day a month," Navara said, adding that there have been no new cases of TB since December.

Public health nurse Cindy Frederickson has given presentations about TB to some businesses and organizations to answer questions about the spread of the disease, and Meyer and Navara will give a report to a statewide group in March about the TB response in Nobles County.

- Learned that public health abatement orders will be issued on a property on Main Street in Round Lake for unsanitary conditions and an abandoned well.

- Received an update from Meyer on recent talks among community health leaders about regionalization in the public health and human services sectors.

"(Gov. Pawlenty) wants to take smaller communities and get to 100,000 (populations) and regionalize that way," Meyer said. "If you take 15 family service directors and six public health directors, you would eliminate a lot of those positions or restructure. We hear that things are going to look different in five years."

Meyer said at this point ideas are just being tossed around, and there are no concrete plans to make changes.

"The thing that disturbs me is there's a financial incentive to do this, but there's no footprint about how much money we're going to save," said board member Richard Bakken. "There's so many things that we don't know, but we're being baited to do that. Nobody addresses services at all and how services will be delivered."

- Discussed the creation of a new health coalition in Rock and Nobles counties to address chronic disease and obesity. The coalition will be led by public health educator Paula Anderson.

Meyer said $47 million was set aside in the Healthcare Reform Act of 2008 for the implementation of a statewide health improvement plan, which would allow community health boards to write grants and focus on improving the health of communities through diet and exercise, health and nutrition and smoking cessation.

- Discussed the creation of a grievance policy for NRCHS. A subcommittee of the board will meet to discuss adapting the Nobles County Personnel Policy to meet the needs of the agency.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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