Health department reopens after Hurricane Irene repairs

HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) - The Hopewell Health Department is back up and running after being shut down for nearly a month.

It was forced to close because of major damage from Hurricane Irene. People who use the facility say they're glad to finally have medicare close to home again.

Even though the weather may not reflect it, it's a bright day for Vannette Taylor who says she can finally get the services she needs at the Hopewell Health Department.

"That's good because it's more convenient," said Taylor. "Some people don't have transportation to get to Petersburg. I'm glad they let us use their services but I'm glad it's back open."

Taylor and other Hopewell neighbors have had to drive 15 to 20 minutes to Petersburg or Prince George for visits since the department shut down for maintenance September 14.

"I was shocked because I came down here for an appointment and when I found out it wasn't open, I was like wow because they said it was damaged from Irene," Taylor noted. "But a lot of things were damaged from Irene here."

The city had to rip out ceiling and floor tiles after Irene caused major water damage to the front lobby. They replaced two thirds of the ceiling tiles. Gray tiles on the floor show where new ones were installed. Workers made repairs to the bathroom and other parts of the building which needed renovations before the storm.

The city also installed a water proof membrane on the roof of the building to prevent water from leaking through it the next time a storm comes this way.

"Hopefully that will keep the water out, and the damages that occurred because of the water have been repaired," said Crater Health District Administrator, Wallica Gaines

Gaines says she's just glad after nearly a month of repairs, families and people like Taylor can now receive the medical care they need.

"We're very excited to get services back in Hopewell for the citizens," Gaines added.

The Hopewell Health Department is open 8:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved