Gupta had raised questions about the distribution of the $400,000 grant in April. The money was given to the state Department of Health and Human Resources, which delegated distribution of the grant to West Virginia Local Health Inc. Kanawha-Charleston ultimately pulled away from the grant application, and from the association of Local Health Departments, over the matter.
The health department had initially requested and was denied an opportunity to apply directly to the Bureau for Public Health instead of going through West Virginia Local Health Inc. However, in light of the recent ruling from the Ethics Commission, the agency is allowing health departments to apply for the funds directly through the BPH, according to a DHHR letter dated Aug. 15.
Gupta said he received the letter and grant guidance from the BPH on Wednesday and will have five business days to complete the grant application. Gupta said the department would apply by the Aug. 22 deadline.
"Yeah, we're going to have to," he said. "We worked so hard to get it the right way, and now, finally, they're doing what they're supposed to be doing in the first place. We're happy about that, so we're obviously going to apply."
Gupta was not sure whether the grant application is now open to all local health departments or only those who had previously applied for the grant through West Virginia Local Health Inc. The deadline for spending the money has been extended to Dec. 31, he said.
In other business, three cases of H3N2 swine flu in humans have been reported in West Virginia, Briscoe said. All three cases were people who attended a county fair in Ohio. From July 12 through Aug. 9, 153 cases of the illness have been reported nationally. Most of those cases have been linked to contact with swine, Briscoe said. So far, this strain of H3N2 has been mild, she said.
Additionally Thursday, health board members went into executive session to discuss the possibility of filing a lawsuit, but Gupta would not say what the potential lawsuit was about.
Reach Lori Kersey at lori.ker...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.