Alpine County’s new doctor ready for anything
The Board of Supervisors asked Dr. Janice Levesque to run the Woodfords Clinic, handle county health and develop a federally-mandated biomedical terrorism action plan.
She’s also staying at the South Lake Tahoe medical practice part of the week.
“I wasn’t looking for another job,” Levesque said.
Alpine County sought a replacement for Dr. Garrett Schwartz, who said he wanted to spend more time with his baby and Carson Valley practice. His contract expired in June.
About that time, word got out that Levesque gained experience as a public health officer in Inyo County. She lived in Bishop from 1992 to 1995 with husband Dr. Steve Levesque, who also works at Tahoe Family Physicians.
She started July 2.
“We’re very happy to have her here. She’s got the experience we needed,” county Health and Human Services Director Katherine Kerr said.
She’ll work at the clinic one day a week through the summer from 9:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Come fall, this schedule may expand to two days a week.
Like many county health officers, Levesque will work on the biomedical terrorism plan’s concept through the summer. It’s due to the federal government by the beginning of fall.
The doctor admits it’s hard to believe why the smallest county in California would need to fend off terrorists.
But emergency response officials have surmised an attack in the San Francisco Bay Area would send an influx of people fleeing the city for the hills. Consequently, the overrun of people could perhaps drain the resources of small mountain communities.
Levesque recently attended a workshop in Sacramento that addressed the issue. It was held by the California Rural Counties Association.
“One thing we have to remember in local public health is the procedure for identifying the source of infection,” she said.
Part of that goal involves deciphering fact from fiction.
Levesque shared a story she learned at the conference of a couple who panicked when climber’s chalk showed up in their Yosemite Valley cabin. They thought it was anthrax, she said.
“The first thing we’d have to do is to get people to calm down,” she said.