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Health board gives executive director a raise

The Kanawha-Charleston Board of Health on Thursday unanimously voted to give executive director Dr. Rahul Gupta a five-percent pay raise.

The vote came after a short executive session to discuss Gupta's performance evaluation.

Gupta, who has served as executive director since 2009, previously made $165,000 a year. He now will receive an additional $8,250 in salary, plus $1,815 in additional benefits.

"We're very pleased with the job you've done," board president Brenda Isaac said following the vote. "We want you to stay here and keep doing it."

Isaac said the raise is effective immediately.

Also Thursday, the board recognized Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper for his contributions to the county's new restaurant rating system. Carper originally pushed the county to adopt a letter-based grading system for restaurants, but eventually suggested the three-tiered system now being used in a pilot program for South Charleston and businesses along Corridor G.

In other business, Janet Briscoe, director of epidemiology and threat preparedness, updated board members on the national fungal meningitis outbreak caused by tainted steroid shots compounded by a Massachusetts pharmacy.

Briscoe said there have been 451 cases of fungal meningitis nationwide from the shots, plus 10 joint infections that did not advance to full-blown meningitis.

Only one West Virginia facility, the Pars Interventional Pain and Wellness Center in Parkersburg, received the tainted shots. Briscoe said early reports indicated one of the pain clinic's patients developed meningitis, but officials have now determined that is not the case.

Lolita Kirk, the director of administrative services, updated board members on the department's ongoing flu shot clinics. The department has administered 10,000 immunizations since the clinics began in September, with 4,000 of those going to Kanawha County schoolchildren.

The school-based clinics will continue through mid-December.

Contact writer Zack Harold at 304-348-7939 or zack.harold@dailymail.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ZackHarold.


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