BLOOMINGTON -- Monroe County is the latest in Indiana to have been declared a public health emergency. State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams made the declaration today in response to an outbreak of hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C is often spread through sharing of needles. To combat this, Monroe County is planning to open a needle exchange program in January.
Kathy Hewett, lead health educator for the Monroe County Health Department, says the program will be a mobile service with providers going out into the community at least once a week.
"Later it might be twice a week; and then once a month we’ll have a, what they call a one stop shop where they have multiple providers in one location to make it easier on them to access what they need," Hewett said.
According to local officials, approval from the state took longer because Monroe is the first county to work with an outside agency for services, the Indiana Recovery Alliance.
The public health emergency declaration will run through December 21 of 2016.