Released: December 30, 2022
The Delaware County Health Department (DCHD), under the direction of Melissa Lyon, is proud to detail its accomplishments, since first opening in April 2022. In the short nine months of its operations, the newly created County Health Department has accomplished significant achievements.
January 2022 - First Health Director Melissa Lyon Officially Starts Position
“This has always been a rare and exciting opportunity for me,” said Delaware County Health Department Director Melissa Lyon. “Everyone has had challenging moments, building a Health Department from the ground up is a daring endeavor. The staff here is the most courageous and dedicated group I know. When we take a moment to look back it is clear we accomplished so much in such a short period of time.”
The Delaware County Health Department was approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health to act in its official capacity as a health department on April 2, 2022. This marked the first health department to be established in the state of Pennsylvania in the past 33 years. And the first county-run health department ever in Delaware County.
Major Milestones since the Health Department’s official opening on April 2, 2022:
April 2022 – Delaware County Wellness Line Began Operations
The Delaware County Wellness Line has been a lifeline to resources for many residents and offers help that they may not have known was available. Many residents have reached out to the Wellness Line team in times of need and during times of fear and uncertainty during the pandemic. The Wellness Line Team strives to offer support and comfort to every caller and helps point them in the right direction. The Wellness Line intake call center fielded a total of 6906 calls since April 2022. The DCHD Wellness Line is available during traditional business hours and is primarily intended for non-urgent inquiries. After hours, DCHD’s Wellness line remains available to take messages. Residents in need of immediate assistance for life-threatening emergencies should dial 911. In addition to responding to phone calls, the Wellness Line also responds to email inquiries. Phone: (484) 276-2100 Email: DelcoWellness@co.delaware.pa.us
April 2022 – Environmental Health Initiates Licensing and Inspection of Businesses
The Health Department’s Environmental Division began visiting businesses for licensing and inspections in 42 municipalities in Delaware County. The Environmental Health Division is responsible for the prevention of human injury and illness, the promotion of a healthy environment, and protecting the community from environmental hazards. The department prevents, minimizes, and contains adverse health events and conditions resulting from communicable diseases like food, water, vector-borne outbreaks, chronic disease, environmental hazards, injuries, and health disparities. The team has conducted almost 4,000 since April.
May 2022 – DCHD Formally Assumes Primary COVID-19 Vaccination Operations
Previously, vaccination services were conducted at the Watkins Avenue Senior Center in Upper Darby, and the Keystone First Wellness and Opportunity Center in Chester. This marked the relocation of all county run vaccinations to the Department’s new clinic locations: the Delaware County Wellness Center in Yeadon, PA., and the DCHD-Chester Clinic in Chester, PA. Since 2021 the County has administered 172,615 COVID-19 vaccine doses as of the end of November 2022.
June 2022 – DCHD and Personic Health Care Open COVID-19 Testing Site in Yeadon
In an effort to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 testing during a time of surging positive cases, the Delaware County Health Department partnered with Personic Health Care, a local Springfield-based health provider, to open a new outdoor, community testing site at the Delaware County Wellness Center at Yeadon. This partnership remains and has plans to expand beyond COVID-19 testing in 2023.
August 2022 – Delaware County Health Department Wellness Center in Yeadon Becomes Fully Operational
The Wellness Center had primarily operated as a robust and busy COVID-19 community vaccination site as well as COVID-19 testing location. Starting in April and fully functioning by August, it began operating public health clinics that work to prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV, and sexually transmitted infections (STI). It was also necessary to begin operating broader vaccination clinics for the uninsured and underinsured clients through the Free Vaccine for Children (VFC) program and adult immunization program. In addition, there is a whole team of disease intervention specialists and epidemiology staff that work tirelessly to prevent the spread of reportable infectious and communicable diseases such as Salmonellosis, Hepatitis, measles, chicken pox, influenza, etc.
August 2022 – Environmental Health Inspection Management System (IMS) Database Deployed
The Health Department implemented its data processing system that allows tracking of accurate documentation and records for most of the services the Health Department provides. This allows DCHD to easily track monies, applications, licensing, inspection, staff workload, and other efficiency functions.
September 2022- Epidemiology Team Develops Plans for the First County-Wide Community Health Need Assessment
The Community Health Assessment is a robust report that captures data and analysis of information that demonstrates the state of the health of Delaware County. This document is a pillar for which all public health work will be prioritized. The framework is established, and the work will commence in early 2023.
October 2022 - Epidemiology Team Develops First County and Municipality Level Childhood Lead Poisoning Report
This is the Delaware County Health Department (DCHD)’s first childhood lead surveillance report. This report is provided as a source of information for the public, healthcare providers, and other organizations and individuals interested in childhood lead poisoning burden and prevention in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. The report can be found: https://www.delcopa.gov/health/pdf/2022/DelawareCountyLeadReport2021.pdf
October 2022 – Successful Transition of the West Nile Virus Program into the DCHD Environmental Division
The Environmental Health Division scaled up staffing and training to smoothly transition the team into the division without interrupting the program’s operations and services to the community.
November 2022 – Pregnancy Testing Availability Launched at County Clinical Offices
The Delaware County Health Department began offering no-cost pregnancy testing (urine testing only) to Delaware County women, at the Delaware County Wellness Centers in Yeadon and Chester. Women of all ages are welcome, and no insurance or ID is required. Results are provided immediately and are strictly confidential.
November 2022 – DCHD Kicked Off School Nurse Preparedness and Support Program
This grant-funded program supports school nurses in school districts that were selected to participate. This program is designed to build capacity and strengthen the public health role of nurses in the public-school system.
”We are proud of the work our team has done and we want the community to know that the Health Department is here to support them, and we are excited to work to bring additional resources and programs to Delco in 2023,” said Director Lyon.