Hopewell Township municipal officials are searching for a full-time public health nurse as the township grapples with a rise in COVID-19 cases.
The township committee introduced an ordinance amending the comprehensive salary and wage plan to include the title of public health nurse at a meeting on Nov. 30. The public hearing to adopt the ordinance is scheduled for Dec. 14.
Officials hope to hire someone as soon as possible and preferably by the end of the year, and have already posted the job, they said during the meeting.
“This will be a regular full-time staff position,” Business Administrator Elaine Borges said.
Borges had previously stated during the Nov. 30 township committee meeting that the township has been filling the position with a part-time person provided to them from the Capital Health system.
“We have gotten to the point with everything going on with COVID and etc. it is too much for a part-time person,” she said.
According to the township health department, Hopewell Township has traditionally had a part-time public health nurse providing a variety of services, such as communicable disease investigations, clinical services to the community (e.g. blood pressure screenings), immunizations and health education programs.
“During the initial surge of COVID cases this past spring, the township secured grant funding to bring on additional part-time personnel for case investigations and contact tracing,” Health Officer Dawn Marling said. “As the pandemic continues, the township is seeking to ensure stable full-time coverage for this role, which will involve continued case management and support for COVID vaccination campaigns.”
Marling added that when hired, a full-time nurse will allow the health department to expand clinical services and outreach programs, allowing them to address the needs of a growing population.
The week of the Thanksgiving holiday, Hopewell Township experienced an increase in COVID-19 cases. The health department reported on Nov. 30 that the township had 49 new cases as of Nov. 26.
The township has had 265 positive cases with eight deaths from the virus, as of press time.