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McDuffie County health workers can still provide back-to-school needs, building or not

McDuffie County health department

After a fire in June, the remodeling process has taken longer than McDuffie County health workers had hoped. (WRDW-TV / July 28, 2011)

News 12 First at Five / Thursday, July 28, 2011

THOMSON, Ga. -- Some kids in McDuffie County will have to get their back-to-school shots in a place they aren't used to. The McDuffie County Health Department still isn't in its normal building after it fell victim to a fire almost two months ago.

Flames only destroyed one room, but smoke demolished almost 14,000 feet. The remodeling process has taken longer than McDuffie County health workers had hoped.

"They keep telling us three to four more weeks," said Kathy Linebarger, who works at the McDuffy County Health Department.

Thursday, crews were working on the ceilings, but health workers thought this would be done weeks ago.

"It's becoming a joke among us," Linebarger said. "[They tell us] this and this and this will happen. Three to four more weeks, and you should be good."

Crews are still estimating another three to four weeks of construction, which means the building won't be completely fixed in time for school, which is a crucial time for health care demands.

"Our main concern is getting towards back to school with immunization, their hair, vision and dental screens," Linebarger said. "And we're still not back in our building."

No, they're not back yet, but it's not stopping patients like Amber Massey from getting the care she and her kids need.

"The service was still the same," she said. "We just went to different areas rather than just the main office."

There are actually three different areas. One is the senior citizens center across the street. DFACS has also volunteered space, as well as a private doctor in McDuffie County.

Massey says workers have been good about minimizing the confusion associated with going to different places.

"I called and the answering machine said they had a fire, they were doing some remodeling, and they gave me another number to call," she said. "As soon as I called, they picked it up and were able to answer my questions."

And workers say they're not only able to answer your questions. They also say they can still provide you any service you would normally get, including back-to-school needs.

"Any of the immunizations they should need, we can do any of that here," Linebarger said. "Their hearing, vision, dental. Any of those services we would normally do at the health department we can do at this place."

You can get those back-to-school health care needs met at the senior citizens center. Linebarger says they expect a rush over the next week or two.

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