WAHOO – There is a lot going on at Three Rivers Health Department.
With the recent influx of influenza and educating the public on the coronavirus they are in the midst of opening a new office in town.
Three Rivers Health Department is a local public health department that serves Dodge, Washington and Saunders counties.
Up until recently they have been providing outreach clinics twice a month at the Wahoo Public Library where they provided vaccines for children, adult immunizations and car seat installations and inspections.
“Having an office in Wahoo will strengthen the community presence and working with the local health department in the area is essential,” Terra Uhing, executive director, said. “We’re starting small. We will be sharing the space with a local chiropractic office.”
According to Uhing, the biggest misnomer about Three Rivers is that they are not a bank.
“There is a bank called Two Rivers and we get asked that a lot,” she said with a smile on her face. “But what we are a resource for health and wellness. If we don’t have an answer we will find the answer. I have a wonderful staff that knows that they are doing and hey do their jobs very well.”
Uhing said if someone is sick and it’s a reportable disease they are responsible by state statute to do investigations.
“We are to keep the residents within in our jurisdiction healthy and safe,” she said. “We try to promote community awareness and keep people as healthy as we possibly can.”
In her ninth year as the director, Uhing said this past year dealing with flooding was eye opening.
“To see the number of people that were impacted,” she said. “A lot of people did not have access to resources and to this day are still struggling.”
Uhing also said they have also seen a lot of influenza A at the beginning of the flu season.
“Into January and February it shifted over to an influenza B strain. I tell people there are a lot of things to do to avoid the flu: stay home and away from others when you are sick, use good hand hygiene and hand sanitizer and be sure to get your flu shot,: she said.
Uhing said an additional resource that they provide is confidential, low-cost reproductive health care to men and women where over 1,500 individuals are seen each year.
Services include an exam, birth control, emergency contraception, pregnancy testing, STI screening and treatment and health education.
According to Uhing, they accept most medical insurance and have a sliding fee scale for those who do not have insurance.
“Nobody can be turned away because of them not having the ability to pay,” she said. “
More recently with the recent coronavirus there is a lot of education and awareness to be done.”
Uhing said they are working diligently to provide outreach and education to the communities they serve.
“It is our job to think in a proactive way instead of a reactive way,” she said. “The main message that I want to get across is do not panic, stay home if you are sick and properly clean your home and office spaces. Lastly, wash your hands properly.”