NILES Health dept. plans upgrade

The local department will use the money to buy a refrigerator and a portable computer.
NILES -- As agencies across the country step up efforts to combat bioterrorism, Niles Health Department will use its portion of a countywide grant to improve its communications access.
"It's a brand new thing," said Michael Burke, health commissioner.
Burke said the grant, which was secured by the Trumbull County Board of Health, will be split among the four local departments in the county.
Niles will receive $16,338, to be paid in quarterly installments of a little more than $4,000.
"It's basically an infrastructure grant," said Nancy Norton, public health nurse with the Trumbull County Board of Health. "Departments can use it to upgrade and improve their communication materials."
The federal money was distributed to state health departments, which, in turn, awarded the grants based on population figures, Norton said.
Items needed
With the first round of smallpox vaccinations due to arrive in the county within the next few weeks, Burke said the Niles department will use a portion of its grant for a new refrigerator to store specimens and vaccinations as needed.
The department will also buy a portable computer, a mobile phone and Internet access.
"The grant is not designed to pay for services a department already has," Burke explained. "We don't have Internet access yet, which is something we need."
Norton said most departments will use the money to improve computers, phones and Internet access to better communicate with the Centers for Disease Control, state health departments and each other.

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