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KCHD to put on Hepatitis A Vaccine Clinic for Food Service Workers

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)- - A spokesman for the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department says they will be offering a one-day clinic for all food service employees in the county.

On May 30th from 8am-6pm, any food service employee can come to the Charleston Civic Center for a discounted Hepatitis A vaccine.

The exact cost of the shot has not yet been determined.

This comes a day after KCHD announced a sixth food service employees tested positive for Hepatitis A.

Restaurants can do everything right, using gloves, washing hands frequently, putting hair up in news, and still, an employee can come to work with Hepatitis A. So some managers are looking to take extra steps to protect their customers and the public.

It's another busy day at Bridge Road Bistro and another day of carefully following health guidelines.

"We've been here for 14 years strong and we've never had any incident with bad health inspection or anything, we're always excellent," the Bistro's General Manager Sandy Call told 13 News.

Call said she's a stickler, making sure food handlers are taking steps to keep their kitchen clean.

"Rather than being reactive to something, we're proactive. We make sure all of our employees wash their hands consistently, they have their hair up, they're wearing clean aprons, there's no beverages laying around. We follow all the protocols of the health department because we want to keep the trust of the community," Call explained.

But even with these steps, an employees could come to work already infected with Hepatitis A.

"As an employer, we don't know when we have employees that have the actual Hepatitis A. We don't know that they've gotten sick, or shared a needle or their private life, that's really none of our business and it's part of HIPPA laws as well," Call said.

So the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department will be offering a Hepatitis A vaccine clinic food workers next week, with a reduced cost for the shot.

"It started out slow, one case in January and we didn't see a second case until March and then it grew to now over 100 investigations," Janet Briscoe, Director of Epidemiology for the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department said in a board meeting Thursday night.

The health department said this problem isn't going away anytime soon. 

"We still have cases under investigation and almost on a daily basis we're seeing multiple cases," Briscoe added.

If you see food handlers not using gloves at any restaurant, you're encouraged to report it to the Health Department.


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