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The Clark County Health Department is staffed with qualified nurses, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, home health aides, and clerical personnel. These services are available to all age groups.

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Public Health Services:
Environmental Health Services

The Environmental Health Section of the Clark County Health Department provides a wide range of services for the citizens of our county. Many of these services are performed pursuant to contracts entered into with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The department's inspectors, or Environmental Public Health Specialists, are county not state employees.

Food Establishment Inspections

The environmental health section is responsible for conducting sanitation inspections in several types of regulated food establishment. Those subject to inspection include restaurants, taverns, retail food stores, food processors and distributors, schools and senior nutrition sites.

The primary goals of the inspection program are to decrease the probability of a food or water-borne disease incident occurring in the area, to educate food workers and to help ensure compliance with state and local sanitation requirements. Should a foodborne illness outbreak occur, environmental health staff would comprise a key component of the department's epidemiology team, attempting to identify specific source or sources of illness.

The environmental health section is currently responsible for inspecting 32 food establishments. Inspection frequency is determined by a "public health priority" rating system that considers a number of factors including type of operation, extent of food preparation, past inspection history and the like.

Child Care Facility Inspections

The environmental health section is currently responsible for conducting annual sanitation inspections in childcare facilities located in Clark County. These facilities are licensed or regulated by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Bureau of Child Care and include centers, group homes, family child care homes, Head Starts and license-exempt facilities (nursery school or a facility run by a religious organization).

Inspections are conducted pursuant to a contract with the Bureau of Child Care and performed according to policies and standards set forth by that agency. Local inspectors attend an annual training and re-certification course mandated by the bureau.

If you have questions regarding child care rules or how to become a licensed provider, call (573) 751-2450. To view Missouri laws, regulations and manuals pertaining to child care facilities, visit: http://www.dhss. mo.gov/ChildCare/LawsRegs.htm

Lodging Establishment Inspections

The environmental health section is currently responsible for conducting annual sanitation and safety inspections in lodging establishments in Clark County. State law (Chapter 315 RSMo) requires that lodging establishments be inspected and licensed by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Our staff conducts the inspections pursuant to a contract with that agency.

Inspections are conducted according to standards (19 CSR 20-3.050) set forth by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services that became effective in early 2002. To view the laws and rules pertaining to lodging establishments, visit: http://www.dhss.mo.gov/Lodging/

Emergency Preparedness

Emergency preparedness information for a natural disaster that can occur, such as a winter storm, tornado, flood or earthquake can be obtained by contacting the health department.

Current information on Bio-Terrorism may be obtained by contacting the following number and websites.

Private Water Supply Wells

The environmental health section provides private water sample collection kits for use by the general public. The kits, which contain a sterile, 100ml sample bottle, instructions for sample collection and a mailing label addressed to the State Public Health Laboratory are available at our office.

The state health lab will analyze samples for the presence of bacteria and mail the test results to the submitting party, usually within seven to ten days. There will be a ten dollar ($10) fee assessed by the lab for this service.

Environmental health staff is available to offer assistance related to sample collection techniques, interpreting water test results and proper procedures for disinfecting contaminated wells when needed. Staff may also collect water samples for individuals under certain circumstances.

Some banks and lending institutions require a well inspection and the collection of a "satisfactory" water sample prior to closing a home loan. The test kits available from our office are for unofficial use only and will be reported as such by the state health laboratory. The environmental health section does not inspect wells or collect water samples for loan purposes. The department will provide a list of state licensed water and sewer system inspectors on request.