The North Central District Health Department is a full-time public health department with a Full-Time Staff funded by its member towns and a annual per capita grant from the Connecticut State Department of Public Health. The department is governed by a Board of Directors, with representatives from the eight municipalities, in proportion to their population, based on a State formula. District offices are located in Enfield, Stafford, Vernon, and Willimantic. Click the buttons above for Pictures and directions to those offices.
What we do
Most People do not know what their local health department does unless there's an outbreak or an epidemic. The following are some of the daily activities or our department:
The department daily receives reports from laboratories based on physician testing of their patients. These slips are reviewed to determine which ones need follow up. They may include TB in which case, if the case is a positive PPD, positive chest, an epidemiological study is done to make sure the case has not spread the disease to others. Other family members, close relatives and depending on circumstances, workers or friends are tested with positive tests referred for physician follow up and medication.
Other illnesses such as Hepatitis A, Giardiasis, Campylobacteriosis. Salmonellosis and the like, are also cause for health department investigation and follow up.
The Public Health Code Sections 19-13-B42, B48 and B49 and District Sanitary Code require licensing of food service facilities and inspection by a registered sanitarian or certified food service inspector. Reinspections are done as necessary to achieve compliance with the Public Health Code.
In addition to inspection of restaurants, the Department inspects cafes, bakeries, cafeterias, food vendors at fairs and carnivals, itinerant food vendors, shellfish vendors, grocery stores, food facilities in rest homes and convalescent homes, clubs, fraternal groups, churches and other non-profit organizations where food or beverages are offered or sold to the public. The Health Department also inspects cafeterias and eating facilities in the public and private school systems.
The department is responsible for plan review for all proposed food service operations or additions to existing operations.
Food Borne Illness
It is the responsibility of the health department to investigate possible outbreaks of food borne illnesses. In such investigations, the health department’s main concern is to stop such outbreaks, take samples and specimens to determine the source of the problem, and eliminate re-occurrence of such problems.
Lead in Children
In accordance with Section 19a-110 and 111 of the CT General Statutes and Section 19a-111-1 thru 11 of the CT Public Health Code, our department follows up on cases of children with elevated blood lead levels. Physicians are now required to have the blood lead levels of their patients under the age of 6 years old tested periodically. The laboratory reports must be sent to the State Health Department.
Our staff who are certified lead inspectors conduct epidemiological investigations and inspections of the child’s environment as deemed appropriate. The staff utilize an x-ray fluorescence unit (XRF) to detect lead paint in the home and take samples of dust, soil and water in order to determine the degree of the hazard and to assess how to reduce the child’s exposure to lead in their environment.
The department works with the child and parents/guardian, doctors, lead abatement contractors and the State Health Department to ensure that the child’s blood lead level is reduced and that their daily exposure to lead is eliminated.
On-Site Sewage Disposal
In accordance with Section 19-13-B103 of the CT Public Health Code, our department is responsible for the issuance of permits for on-site sewage disposal systems. Location and method of installation are governed by the Public Health Code and are enforced by the Health Department.
Subsurface investigation requires preliminary site reviews, percolation tests, observation of deep test pits, review of plans, correspondence and consultation with engineers, builders and local officials and issuance of permits. The Department’s activities are conducted to ensure proper operation of the septic systems installed.
CT Public Health Code Section 19-13-B100 requires our department to review building additions and change of uses for properties that are serviced by on-site septic systems.
Private Water Supplies (Wells)
In accordance with Section 19-13-B51 and B101 of the CT Public Health Code, our Department oversees issues with private well water supplies. The staff consults with homeowners about their concerns regarding existing wells and their water quality. The Department tests well water with the assistance of the State Laboratory. We consult with the State Health Department and the Department of Environmental Protection where pollution is suspected. The Department reviews and approves applications and plans for drilling of new wells.
Day Care Centers
Day care centers are inspected once every two years at the request of the State Health Department to review environmental health and safety issues related to the building and grounds. Additionally, day care centers that serve meals are inspected approximately twice a year. The department reviews health records, food handling, water, sewer and the general physical condition of the facility.
Public Pools & Bathing Beaches
Section 19-13-B33b of the CT Public Health Code requires the inspection of public swimming pools, and whirlpools at hotels, apartments and condominium complexes as well as public pools at schools or parks. The pools are checked for chlorine content, safety equipment and the operation of the pool filtration system.
The water at bathing beaches as well as the sanitary facilities are inspected. Beach water samples are sent to the State Laboratory on a weekly basis during the hot summer months. In cases where geese or excessive rain results in special concern in regard to human infections based on the quality of the water, beaches may be closed.
Beauty Parlors, Nail Salons, & Barber Shops
All new facility plans are reviewed by staff. A state licensed cosmetologist sub-contractor does most yearly inspections for sanitation and infection prevention but the health department is involved in initial inspections and re-inspections. The department and representatives from the water companies have been training the sub-contractors on cross connections, back flow prevention and the contractor has been training staff in areas of their specialty as it relates to health. Ventilation related complaints involve the department working with each town’s building department.
All tattoo parlors must yearly register with the NCDHD and present to the department a letter from a physician with original signatures of the physician and the people he has trained in proper sanitary practice and infection prevention in order to operate. Additionally, tattoo technicians now need to apply for a license with State of CT. Click here for a complete listing of the State of CT’s requirements for the Tattoo Technician.
The Health Department is responsible for the investigation of complaints with regard to public health hazards and nuisances in accordance with the CT Public Health Code Sections 19-13-B1, B2, B21 and related sections and the CT Housing Code Statutes. Complaints that are filed by the public dealing with housing, trash, animal waste, rodents and insects. The department also inspects complaints related to septic systems and wells, restaurants, and food borne illnesses.
The North Central District Health Department offers Health Education programs that are open to residents of the District.
“Putting on Airs” is an intervention program offered by the North Central District Health Department in collaboration with other health departments and the State of Connecticut Department of Health. Participants of this program are referred to our office thru Emergency Room visits, school nurses, community medical services, sanitarians, or by seeking our services themselves.
Staff from our office provides the client with a one on one session in their home with a Registered Sanitarian and a Health Educator. Our goal is to educate the client and families about asthma. We help to identify environmental triggers and reduce exposures to them. We also review the appropriateness of the client medications and how they are administered. Recommendations are made to the client, the client’s doctors and school medical staff. The client is given a copy of the recommendations, informational handouts, and mattress and pillow covers to reduce dust mites exposure.
The Healthy Living Coalition
A current initiative of the North Central District Health Department is to create “Healthy Living Coalitions” within each of our eight towns. These coalitions will act to create policy and environmental changes within their communities. These coalitions will be staffed by key stake holders for healthy living within each town. Examples of these will include Planning and Zoning Officials, Department of Public Works, Environmental personnel, Chamber of Commerce, Health Department, Schools and Churches, Developers, Economic Development Park and Rec, medical community, social services groups, and Elected officials.
These coalitions would meet monthly and every quarter one large coalition meeting would occur for the district. Attendance would be either in person or by webinar. The goal of these coalitions is to network on community programs to create growth in healthy living activities founded on evidenced-based policy and environmental changes related to chronic disease prevention and health disparities. The town coalitions would feed information up to the district coalition to help us gain information on community needs and help to determine the direction of our district programs and grants. Please contact the Health Educator at North Central District Health Department for more information on the Coalition initiative.
Creation of a Healthy Living Community Event Pamphlet
The North Central District Health Department will continue to expand our work with Mark Fenton by creating a map for each town. It is our intention to use the foundation of the coalition to help identify key stake holders that conduct healthy living activities and utilize the backside of the map to advertise the time, date, and location of these activities as well as the contact information for the event. The entire front page of these maps will have walkable and bikeable trails and paths available in the town. Each year this information would be repopulated to keep up with current events.Town members are encouraged to contact the Health Educator at North Central District Health Department to obtain information on how to advertise local events on the map.
North Central District Health Department will be purchasing “sharrow” templates for each town for use in marking walkable and bikeable areas. These templates will be given to the Town Planners and/or the Public Works Department in each of our eight towns.
Community Garden Initiative
Community garden promotion is important to Healthy Living in our region. We anticipate the creation of more community gardens and would like to help facilitate their growth. In order to facilitate this goal we are working on creating the opportunity for community garden members to submit a proposal to gain financial support from our grant. Acceptable proposals would include sustainable results to the community garden. A full outline of the plan and breakdown of associated costs will be required for submission. Please contact the Health Educator for more information on this initiative.
Emergency Response Responsibilities
The Department is responsible for the distribution of medicine to our population of 173,583 in an emergency. Besides our 7 town district, Somers is included in our Mass Dispensing Plan for Area 34. The Department receives and manages a Grant from the State that has been passed on down from the Federal Government for the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Grant. This Grant provides funding to prepare an operational plan to set up Points of Dispensing (POD) for the distribution of medicine from the Strategic National Stockpile.
Real world events over the few years, Pandemic Influenza, H1N1., more recently Ebola and now "Bird Flu" have highlighted the need to be prepared.
Drills are required by the state for grant purposes and to keep staff prepared for large scale emergencies and real world events. The State is planning a state-wide drill in April 2016.