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State backs off TB test mandate for senior mealsite patrons

Site move to go forward

Countryside Adult Home staff member Brandy French serves coffee Tuesday May 1 to Countryside resident Michael Connor.  The adult home will soon be hosting the patrons of the  Warrensburg senior mealsite, now that the state Health Department is poised to approve the relocation of the luncheon program to Countryside. Until this week, the state Health Department had required that if the move occurred, mealsite patrons would have to undergo a three-day test for tuberculosis, which Warren County officials predicted would kill the program.

Countryside Adult Home staff member Brandy French serves coffee Tuesday May 1 to Countryside resident Michael Connor. The adult home will soon be hosting the patrons of the Warrensburg senior mealsite, now that the state Health Department is poised to approve the relocation of the luncheon program to Countryside. Until this week, the state Health Department had required that if the move occurred, mealsite patrons would have to undergo a three-day test for tuberculosis, which Warren County officials predicted would kill the program. Photo by Thom Randall.

— “We’re trying to protect the Countryside residents from communicable diseases that could place their health in jeopardy,” he said.

Constantakes said Health Department officials were now finalizing guidelines of how Countryside staff could monitor mealsite patrons’ overt health symptoms.

“We’ll be working together with the county to come up with an agreeable plan,” Constantakes said. “We’re trying to resolve this issue in everybody’s best interests.”

Warren County Administrator Paul Dusek said late afternoon May 1 that he was very pleased with the Health Department making accommodations so the Warrensburg mealsite move could go ahead.

“This is great — it sounds like a common-sense solution, and the Health Department is demonstrating cooperation with local government that we need,” he said, praising the agency’s responsiveness. “This is a very important issue for us, as the location change is important in controlling costs.”

The move of the mealsite has been prompted by the potential savings of $12,500 or more annually in lease and utility payments, as well as savings in food procurement and kitchen operations.

Town Supervisor Kevin Geraghty, who serves as the county’s Budget Officer, also praised the agency’s change in plans.

“We’re thankful the DOH has reconsidered their position — and we can now move forward with relocating the mealsite at Countryside,” he said.

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