By Mike Kruzman /

The Livingston County Health Department has been authorized to continue using a local church for their ongoing COVID response.

Chilson Hills Baptist Church in Howell has been a valuable resource for the health department in the amount of space they have offered during busy vaccination, and now booster, seasons. County Administrator Nathan Burd was before the Board of Commissioners, Monday night, with a request to continue utilizing the church for clinics. The County used Chilson Hills 35 times during the past spring and summer for vaccination clinics. Burd said that they have sensed a demand for the boosters now and that the layout of the health department office isn’t as conducive when demand is high.

Burd said that most of the health department’s upcoming appointment slots are booked over the next several weeks. He told Commissioners, that as of yesterday morning, all 507 appointments available for the Moderna booster through November 19th are booked. The next available date is the 22nd. The health department also made a smaller amount of Phizer appointments available, but those, too, are booked, with “very few” being available, next, for December 8th and December 15th. Slots are still available for the Johnson & Johnson booster, which Burd said there seems to be less demand for.

Public comment during the meeting was split. Those who were opposed to using the church felt the ARPA funds approved for COVID response were for the health department use in their offices only. Those in favor of continuing clinics at the church supported having it as an option, with one resident sharing their pleasant experience with getting their vaccine there.

The Board of Commissioners voted 6-3 in favor of continuing to use Chilson Hills Baptist Church. Voting in favor were Carol Griffith, Doug Helzerman, Carol Sue Reader, Jay Gross, Mitchell Zajac, and Martin Smith. Wes Nakagiri, Jay Drick, and Brenda Plank voted against it.