Warren County

Warren County Health Department touting new programs, improved services

By Jack Underwood, Staff Writer
Posted 5/13/24

New services include free STD testing and Narcan kits.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in
Warren County

Warren County Health Department touting new programs, improved services


As a public health department, Warren County offers a number of services at little or no cost to residents, many of which are not taken advantage of as they should be, according to Administrator Stacey White. 

One upcoming event is the department’s annual Kid’s Safety Day, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, at the Warren County Administration Building parking lot. Warren County first responders will be there to work with parents, there will also be services for child safety seats and a variety of food trucks and other resources for parents. 

The most recent addition to the health department’s offerings is the STD clinic, which started offering tests as of last week. Those services used to be available in the county at other locations before funding dried up, and now the department has brought them back to Warren County. 

“STD rates are increasing across the state, especially syphilis and chlamydia, so we worked with the state to become an STD location where we could test and we can treat,” White said. 

At this point they are only offering tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea with plans to expand to offer syphilis and HIV testing in the future. The former are less labor intensive tests, and can be conducted with only a urine, or self-swab, while the latter require blood testing which means they need additional equipment and time to make the service available.  

The service is offered through a state program at almost no cost to the department.

“The supplies are free from the state, the educational materials are free, we just have to provide the staff time to do that,” White said. 

They are also working to provide a streamlined service for patients, who, according to White, do not even need appointments to get tested. They can schedule appointments if they want to. 

“We tried to make it as easy as possible, with no barriers,” White said. “So basically, it’s just a walk in except during the lunch hour when we don’t have someone available.”

The department is also distributing free Narcan, or Naloxone, to the public. The drug is used to reverse opioid overdoses and can save lives. While White said they have not seen any specific uptick in overdoses through public health data she knows the issue remains prevalent nationally and saw no reason not to be prepared. 

The Narcan kits are also available on a walk-in basis, with no questions asked. They are being made available through another state program with the Missouri Institute for Mental Health under UMSL as well as the state Department of Health and Human Services. 

The kits are easy to use and each comes with two doses of the life-saving drug as well as instructions on their use. White also noted that the medication will not have any negative effects even if someone is not experiencing an opioid overdose when it is administered.

“The good thing about Narcan is, if you’re not sure, ‘oh I don’t know if they’re having a drug overdose or not,’ it’s not going to do any harm if there’s no opioids in their system,” White said. “But it will cause a reaction, bring them back, if there’s an opioid in their system.”

The health department has also been operating their mobile health clinic for roughly a year now. The clinic was originally purchased through COVID-19 grants from the state to offer testing and immunizations in harder-to-reach communities.

Now it still offers those services but it has taken on additional roles. They now have a routine of visits they conduct monthly at locations like the Agape Food Pantry. In addition to immunizations for diseases like the flu, COVID-19 and Hepatitis A they also offer services like well water test kits, and blood pressure screening.

Another regular service offered at the department is mammograms, which are available through a mobile clinic from Mercy Hospital four times a year. The hospital provides the clinic in a van that travels to the county administration building.

Patients can schedule appointments with Mercy for the visits although if they do not fill all their appointment slots they will also accept walk-ins.

“It’s just another service that we can provide here that people may not go to their doctor and get done,” White said.

These services all followed a common theme, White said, even with their efforts to inform the community of the work they do at the health department. She still often hears from people who are unaware of the breadth of services available to them. 

She also wanted to make mention of the health department’s fitness center located on Isabella Drive. While the center does not have the availability it used to since grant funding was reduced, they are still open and offering classes through the University of Missouri Extension. 

Currently the fitness center is open 8 a.m. to noon on Mondays and Wednesdays although White hopes to expand those hours as soon as funding is available.

“We look for any opportunity that we can get that information out there and I don’t think everybody knows everything we do,” White said. 

Health, Warren County