Viruses, environmental health fees discussed at BOH meeting

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Deena Bouknight

At the Jan. 23 Macon County Board of Health (BOH) meeting, Jennifer Garrett, nursing director, gave a presentation about respiratory issues and virus season. Shared with attendees were North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services dashboard reports, last updated Jan. 17, regarding North Carolinians with respiratory viruses.

The dashboard focuses on emergency room visits, hospital admissions, and wastewater samplings to determine what type of viruses people are experiencing. The report also informed about the latest available flu vaccines.

Details of the dashboard reports for COVID-19, flu, and RSV (Respiratory syncytial) can be accessed by visiting

Macon County Commissioner Paul Higdon attended the Jan. 23 meeting and provided input on environmental health fees.

“Fees are charged to applicants for most services such as septic system permits, well permits, food and lodging establishments, tattoo parlors, public pools, etc. In my opinion, and other people also, some of our fees need a downward adjustment to be more in line with surrounding counties,” said Higdon. “The Macon County Environmental Health Department is responsible for evaluating subject properties that can’t connect to municipal sewer and water. This process affects most real estate transactions and construction projects within the county. Like it or not, real estate and construction are major contributors to our local economy.”

Higdon said the focus of the topic at the BOH meeting “was just a start, as we need to continually evaluate fees and levels of service throughout our local systems. Maintaining adequate staff for this service has been and continues to be an issue.”

The next open-to-the-public BOH meeting is scheduled for March 26, 6:15 p.m., in Meeting Rooms A and B of the Human Services Building in Franklin.