MENOMINEE — Menominee County will participate in a nationwide effort to secure settlement funds from major opioid distributors and a drug maker, Menominee County commissioners agreed at their regular board meeting on Tuesday. .
Opioid maker Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, and pharmaceutical distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen are expected to contribute about $ 26 billion in settlement funds nationwide, of which about $ 22.7 billion will be used by states and local areas to address the opioid crisis, according to a letter the county has received.
“Our Michigan County Association recommended that we join. There was no money coming out of the county for that. We have agreed to be part of it, ”said Commissioner Gerald Piche.
Half of the opioid reduction funds will be provided as incentive payments to areas with the highest participation. Information will be available on the settlement website at https://nationalopioidsettlement.com.
In other county council news, Piche said the Pinecrest medical facility in Powers will receive grant funds. Pinecrest applied for a 2% grant from Hannahville for “Alternative Care Site, Infrastructure” and was approved for $ 12,546, County Administrative Assistant Sherry DuPont said in response to the request for information from EagleHerald.
Pinecrest, which receives funds from Menominee, Dickinson and Delta counties, is underfunded due to state COVID-19 guidelines that require it to have beds for COVID patients, Piche said.
“There must be so many beds available for people who contract COVID-19. They have to reserve so many, so let’s say there is a major outbreak, they would be taken care of. This complicates the task of the installation, ”said Piche. “Every time you have to leave coins empty, you lose money. “
Pinecrest administrator Dana Smith said the facility now places patients who test positive for COVID-19 in a greenhouse. “It totally takes this resident out of our facility,” Smith said. She joined Pinecrest about four months ago. “Before me, I think they kept them in the nursing home itself,” she said.
Smith said two patients were being treated in the greenhouse on Thursday. According to the board minutes of the Pinecrest Medical Care board meeting on September 23, which was provided in the county board meeting agenda, two of the four residents of Pinecrest who tested positive for COVID-19 in September had been vaccinated. One of the unvaccinated COVID patients died, Smith said.
“We haven’t had a lot of residents testing positive. But there were one or two vaccinated who tested positive, but their symptoms were minimal, ”Smith said.
As of September, six of seven staff who tested positive were not vaccinated, according to Pinecrest board minutes. Smith said she didn’t know why staff members weren’t vaccinated.
“We are asking people to be vaccinated, but with the mandate coming now, they are going to be vaccinated or (they) will not be able to work here unless there are religious or health problems”, a- she declared.
Pinecrest tests staff twice a week and residents once a week for COVID, Smith said. It provides flu shots and the pneumococcal vaccine to staff members but doesn’t need them, she said.
In a closed-door session, the County Board of Directors discussed the purchase of Hangar No. 14B at the Menominee Regional Airport. The board of directors approved the purchase for $ 18,500, DuPont said.
The date of the next board meeting has been moved to November 30.