Tuesday, September 14th, 2021
Auglaize Board of Health remembers Kitzmiller
By Leslie Gartrell
WAPAKONETA - Auglaize County board of health members during their Monday meeting remembered the life and service of board president Linda Kitzmiller, who died Sept. 1.
Kitzmiller, Minster, had served on the board of health for 30 years and had an extensive background in nursing and health care, bringing an unparalleled level of expertise and care to the position, board members said.
"It was an honor to serve with her," board member Kim Prueter said. "She was very concerned that we take care of the community and be a wise steward."
Kitzmiller earned a Bachelor of Science in nursing in 1970 and a Master of Nursing in 1974 from the University of Mississippi, according to her obituary.
She was an assistant professor at the University of Mississippi, where she taught maternal-infant nursing and participated in the births of more than 1,000 babies.
The former nurse and educator had numerous accomplishments under her belt, including Minster Civic Association Citizen of the Year in 2017.
"I am very gracious and extremely surprised," Kitzmiller said when she accepted the award. "I am truly blessed to be married to (a) wonderful man, to have two wonderful children and to have time to volunteer my services to the county and village."
She also had 20 years of service as the Minster representative to the Auglaize County Educational Service Center, 18 years on the Minster zoning and planning boards and 40 years on the parish council, the education commission, the welcoming committee and Change for Change at St. Augustine Catholic Church.
"It was definitely a pleasure working with Linda," said health commissioner Oliver Fisher. "She always brought a great wealth of knowledge, always looked out for the best interests of public health and the citizens of Auglaize County. She'll definitely be very missed."
Board vice president Dan Harpster also noted Ohio Rep. Susan Manchester, R-Waynesfield, sent a commendation to Kitzmiller's husband, Don, lauding her years of service to the community.
In other business, Auglaize County Health Department nursing director Jessica Wuebker said the county is continuing to see a surge of COVID-19 cases.
Wuebker said 265 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the county from Sept. 1 through the end of the day Sept. 12, with 14-15% of those cases involving school-aged children.
Wuebker said 38 of the 265 cases are children ranging in age from five to 18. Younger people also make up more cases than they did this time last year, she said. People in the age range of 30-39 are leading the new cases, following by people age 20-29 and 10-19.
Fisher said the department received reports of the delta variant in the community in July. The delta variant is the dominant strain in Ohio, Fisher said, and he said it's safe to say it's the dominant strain in Auglaize County as well.
Fisher said it's difficult to say how many cases involve the delta variant because testing is sparse. The delta variant is only tested in samples taken from PCR tests and testing is randomized, he said.
Fisher said some COVID-19 breakthrough cases in vaccinated people have been reported in the county, but added it's hard to get exact numbers. The Ohio Department of Health only requires breakthrough cases be reported in patients who are hospitalized or deceased.
However, Fisher said getting a vaccine is still a recommended course of action for protection.
"I know many (members of the) public focus on 'The vaccine was supposed to prevent me from getting this at all,' and it really wasn't," Fisher said. "It's mainly to prevent hospitalizations and severe illness, which I think it's doing. We're not seeing the deaths, the hospitalizations. We're seeing (breakthrough) cases, but they're not resulting in hospitalizations or severe illness as we thought (they) would.
I think the misconception is that it's going to prevent you from getting it, when it's targeted to help you survive it."
In addition, board members accepted a letter of retirement from emergency response coordinator Don Jump. He has served in the position for more than 10 years, Jump said. His retirement is effective Jan. 1, 2022.
Board members also,
• hired Briana Fisher as a public health nurse at a rate of $19 per hour, with a tentative start date of Sept. 16.
• met in executive session for about 45 minutes to discuss employee compensation. No action was taken afterward.