Section 22-3-5

County health officers - Duties generally.

It shall be the duty of the county health officer:

(1) To exercise, subject to the advice of the county board of health in accordance with the health laws of the state, general supervision over the sanitary interests of the county; and, should he discover any cause of disease or the existence of any condition detrimental to the health of the people, he shall, so far as authorized by law, compel the removal or abatement of the same; and, should no authority for removal or abatement exist, he shall report the fact to the county board of health, adding such recommendations as to special action as he may deem proper;

(2) To make personal and thorough investigation of the first case or early cases of any diseases suspected of being or known to be any one of those enumerated in Chapter 11 of this title that may come to his knowledge or be reported to him; and, should he decide such case or cases to be one of those enumerated in said chapter and in imminent danger of spreading, he shall, in accordance with the law, institute immediate measures to prevent the spread of such disease and shall forthwith report the facts to the chairman of the county board of health and to the State Health Officer. He shall cause to be kept accurate records regarding the incidence, cause, source and results of all such outbreaks. Said records are to be kept on file in the office of the county health departments of the several counties in which such outbreaks occur or in the State Health Department when necessary. Said records, when certified to by the county health officer or his successor in office under oath, shall be accepted as evidence of the facts set forth in the record by the courts;

(3) To visit all jails, whether county or municipal, and to make careful investigation as respects the drinking water, food, clothing and bedding supplied to prisoners and as to the ventilation, air space, heating and bathing facilities, drainage, etc., of these institutions; and, when any of said supplies are found to be inadequate in quantity or deficient in quality or any of said conditions insanitary, the county health officer shall make in writing a report thereof to the judge of probate and the county commission or the proper municipal authorities, as the case may be; whereupon, said judge of probate and county commission, or the proper municipal authorities, as the case may be, shall carry out whatever recommendations are made by the county health officer, and said health officer shall forward duplicates of his reports to the State Health Officer. In the event of failure of compliance with said recommendations, it shall be the duty of the proper state authorities to take appropriate action.

He shall visit, as the need dictates, all places where the public gathers and the county courthouse and any other public building belonging to the county; should he find insanitary conditions existing, he shall report the same to the county commission, and the county commission shall remedy the insanitary conditions in accordance with the recommendations of the county health officer;

(4) To transmit to the State Board of Health by the tenth day of each month all original birth, stillbirth and death certificates and reports received by him from registrars, hospitals and other institutions for the preceding month; also any delayed certificates received by him during the month and such other weekly and monthly reports as may be required;

(5) To make to the county board of health and county commission a periodic report of activities and accomplishments;

(6) To appear before the grand jury as required by that body and to report all violations of the health laws of the state;

(7) In case of a contemplated absence from the county by the county health officer or in case of his disability from any cause of a character so as to interfere with the discharge of his official duties, he shall notify the chairman of the county board of health and the State Health Officer of such condition; and he shall, in writing, name a member of the county medical society who is acceptable to the county board of health to act for him during his absence or disability; but his absence or disability shall not be for longer than 30 days, unless he first obtains the approval of the State Health Officer;

(8) To be present at all meetings of the county board of health for the purpose of keeping that body fully informed as to health conditions prevailing in the county; and to likewise keep the county commission informed on such matters as said commission may deem proper;

(9) To attend all conferences of county health officers which may be called by the State Health Officer;

(10) To discharge such other health functions as are or may be required of him by law;

(11) To occupy an office to be provided by the county commission, and the county commission shall appropriate from the revenue of the county such sums as are found necessary to furnish and equip the office of the county health officer with all necessary supplies and furnish all necessary staff, transportation and other expenses of the county health officer and shall appropriate, from the revenues of the county, money for the prosecution of public health work which has been recommended by the county health officer and endorsed by the county board of health and approved by said county commission;

(12) To make all necessary visits required to identify hazards to public health and to ensure that appropriate control measures are being enforced;

(13) To inspect the schools of the county at least once annually, with the view of seeing that they are supplied with pure drinking water and surrounded by sanitary conditions in all respects, especially to investigate whether or not said schools are equipped with adequate disposal facilities; further, to promote health education within the school system with the concurrence of the appropriate educational authorities;

(14) To teach the proprietors of restaurants, dairies, grocery houses, hotels, lunch stands, etc., the importance of protecting all food products from dust and insects of every kind and to require the proper protection of food products by glass cases, screens or other devices approved by the county board of health, and to impress upon the people of the county the importance of similar protection in their own homes;

(15) To teach the people of the county by lectures, newspaper articles and demonstrations the causes, modes of propagation and of prevention of diseases, with special reference to the spread of disease by flies, mosquitoes, rats, fleas, ticks and other vermin; also, the importance of protecting their houses against these purveyors of disease;

(16) To teach the people of the county how to maintain sanitary conditions in and around their homes, especially how to supply themselves with pure drinking water and pure milk, and also how to provide adequate sewage disposal systems;

(17) To attend meetings of the county commission, from time to time or whenever so requested, for the purpose of giving said commission all desired information as respects the public health interests of the county; and

(18) To prepare and file for permanent record with the county commission an annual statement of receipts and disbursements of his unit; said statement may be reasonably condensed but shall be sworn to, shall be open to public inspection at all times and shall reveal the salary and/or other compensation of the county health officer and all other persons paid from funds of the unit, each listed separately. The statement shall set out the amounts received by the unit from each source of its revenue and shall be filed within not more than 90 days following the close of the unit's fiscal year.

(Code 1907, §706; Acts 1915, No. 707, p. 782; Acts 1919, No. 658, p. 909; Code 1923, §1058; Acts 1927, No. 640, p. 774; Acts 1935, No. 443, p. 918; Code 1940, T. 22, §14.)