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TB clinic moving to Kino area

Citizen Staff Writer



Treatment of tuberculosis patients will move near University Physicians Healthcare Hospital at Kino, but a screening program will remain downtown, county officials decided Tuesday.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved moving the Health Department’s TB treatment program to a site next to the Herbert K. Abrams Public Health Center, 3950 S. Country Club Road. It was at the downtown health building, 150 W. Congress St.

After hearing from health care workers and advocates for the homeless and poor – populations at higher-than-average risk of contracting tuberculosis – the supervisors directed the county administration to find a new testing site downtown.

“A lot of people from the homeless shelters walk downtown” for testing, Carolyn Trowbridge, a member of the county Board of Health, told the supervisors.

Shelters require testing for tuberculosis before admitting clients, Trowbridge said.

Moving the program near Kino on the South Side would make it more difficult for the homeless and poor to get there for testing, she said.

County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry recommended that treatment and testing be moved to the Kino site. He pointed to inadequate safeguards for the air-handling system at the health building for which the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration had cited the county.

TB is a bacterial infection, generally of the lungs, that is spread in the air primarily by coughing and sneezing.

The county program has 23 patients with active tuberculosis.

Board Chairman Richard Elías sought to have action on the move delayed to July to allow affected individuals and agencies more time to comment on it.

Supervisor Ramón Valadez suggested that the TB treatment program be moved to the Kino site while keeping testing downtown at a site to be determined.

In other action, the supervisors narrowly approved an amended contract for what will be a $6.6 million archaeology project on a Northwest Side site occupied by humans dating back to at least 2000 B.C.

Desert Archaeology will receive an additional $4.6 million to oversee excavations, artifact recovery and preservation, and for a follow-up report on what archaeologists find at the site.

The county has to provide for archaeological study of the prehistoric site under state law, Huckelberry told the board.

The county is disturbing the land to lay a sewer transmission line as part of upgrades and expansion of its Ina Road wastewater treatment facility.

Supervisors Ray Carroll and Ann Day voted against the contract amendment.

“This is an incredible amount of dollars,” Carroll said in questioning the amount of added compensation to the company.

The site was first unearthed during 1998 work to improve frontage roads and the interchange of Interstate 10 and Ina Road. Huckelberry said the site – with ancient burials, buildings, and irrigation canals – is one of the oldest known in North America.

County OKs moving TB care to South Side near Kino

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