County of Marin Health and Human Services

Public Health Newsletter - March 2019

Public Health Newsletter - March 2019
Marin County Public Health Newsletter Volume 7 - Issue 3 - March 2019
In this Issue: Flu | Ebola | Immigrant Health | Flavored Tobacco | Food Pharmacy | Message from the Public Health Officer
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A message to physicians and other health care providers from Marin County's Public Health Officer.

Second Wave in Seasonal Flu

Local influenza surveillance has revealed an unusual late-season increase in incidence.  This is being attributed to increased H3N2 influenza virus transmission, added to H1N1 activity that was dominant earlier.  H3N2 influenza is associated with more severe illness in older adults.  Timely antiviral treatment for at-risk individuals remains important.  Visit the Marin Flu website for the most up-to-date information about current influenza activity in Marin.

Ebola Update

The ongoing outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo serves as a reminder to review your infection control processes.  CDC recommendations for healthcare facilities have been recently updated.   Direct any questions to Marin County HHS Communicable Disease Prevention and Control unit at 415-474-4163.

Immigrant Health Services in Marin

Recent debate around immigration policies have left many Marin immigrants concerned about being recipients of public supports for which they are legally eligible.  Marin HHS is tracking enrollment in MediCal (health insurance), CalFresh (food stamps), and WIC (perinatal nutrition support).  This publicly available dashboard shows local enrollment rates declining and can help guide local response.
                                                                                              

Flavored Tobacco Ban

On March 26, San Anselmo became the latest Marin city to take action against the harms of vaping and flavored tobacco, joining Corte Madera, Larkspur and Sausalito.  This follows the lead of the County Board of Supervisors' 2018 vote to prohibit the sale of all flavored vaping and tobacco products in unincorporated areas of Marin.  This response is being mirrored in Sacramento, where Senate Bill 38, a state-wide flavored tobacco ban, is moving forward with wide support from the medical and public health community.

Public Health Program Spotlight:  Food Pharmacy

Many low-income Marin residents are food insecure and experience higher rates of preventable cardiovascular disease.  The Marin City Health and Wellness Center food pharmacy program offers low-income patients the fresh taste and nutritional benefits of produce direct from local farms.  Clinic patients who screen positive for food insecurity are given a prescription for free produce at the weekly Rollin' Root mobile market, provided by the Agriculture Institute of Marin and supported by Marin HHS.  Other sites that offer affordable local produce through Rollin' Root are available here.

Message from the Public Health Officer

Matthew Willis Marin County PHO HeadshotThis month, Marin was named the healthiest county in California in the annual Robert Wood Johnson Foundation County Health Rankings for the ninth time in ten years.  High performance in the category of clinical care was noted. 
We are fortunate to have a clinical community that prioritizes high quality care.  Our goal is to help raise your awareness and guide response to emerging threats to health for all communities, so that Marin can be even healthier.
In gratitude,
Matt Willis
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Copyright (c) 2019
Matthew Willis MD, MPH
Marin County Public Health Officer
mwillis@marincounty.org
(415) 473-4163
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