After a year of experimentation, the Perry County Health Department will be undergoing a small change in its hours of operation.

According to director Sylvia Forester, the Health Department will again be closing at 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, rather than staying open until 5 p.m. as it has done for the past year.

The decision to change the hours was made during Tuesday's meeting of the health department's board of directors and comes as a result of studying the number of clients served during that extra 30 minutes each day.

"We had collected data to see how helpful it was to be open that extra half hour," Forester said. "It averaged out to less than a person a week."

In fact, it averaged out to 0.17 visitors per day during that extra half hour, or 0.85 visitors per week.

"If you add it all up, we were open and additional 68 percent of a month," Forester said, "and saw less that 50 people during the year."

Forester said the health department would continue to remain open from noon-1 p.m.

"The lunch hour was great," Forester said. "It was very beneficial. We had actually started collecting data on that whenever it first changed, but they stopped because the public was definitely using that time. It was obvious that was helping."

For many years, the health department was open from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. each day with a lunch break from noon to 1 p.m. The board decided to change that schedule in late April 2018, part of what was then described as part of a transition process intended to bring the department up to date and to examine how the department could better serve the community.

With that same goal in mind, the board decided Tuesday to add another day of late clinic hours to the schedule, hopefully giving residents more options.

"Since we're not necessarily capturing those workers who might work late by staying open until 5 p.m., we're going to host a second late clinic every month."

Previously, the health department had hosted late clinic hours until 6 p.m. on the first Monday of each month, Now, in addition to that Monday, the health department will host those late clinic hours on the third Thursday as well.

Forester encouraged anyone with questions to contact the Perry County Health Department from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at 573-547-6564.

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