While the Alamance County population has grown in the past two decades, spending by the local health department has not caught up, a Times-News analysis has found.      

The Alamance County Health Department provides services such as health inspections, maternal health clinics and communicable disease prevention. Local health workers are the first line of defense against the spread of communicable diseases in and outside the county.     

But spending on health hasn’t kept up with the huge population growth these past two decades.     

A nurse from the Alamance County Health Department reaches into a Jeep to conduct the nose swab for a COVID-19 test.

From 2000 to 2020, the Alamance County population grew by at least 30 percent, but spending by the local health department during that time increased only by 2 percent when adjusted for inflation, according to an analysis.     

“I think it’s reasonable to suggest that when your population increases, so will your services,” says Alamance County Health Director Tony LoGiudice.    

Tony Lo Guidice

Overall spending by the local health department increased by 2 percent during that period. But when taking the population change into account, the per capita spending fell 22 percent, an analysis showed.      

In raw dollar amounts, Alamance County spending for public health in 2000 was about $59 per person when adjusted for inflation. But 20 years later, the county was spending about $46 per person when considering the population growth. 

LoGiudice said the health department is constantly assessing the community needs through community health assessments conducted every year. Another one, the Community Health Needs Assessments, is done every three years. These assessments, he says, help officials identify – and address – —issues concerning the community. 

“We are constantly assessing and then readjusting our programming or working with the community to adjust their programs to meet those needs,” LoGiudice said.         

How is the population growth impacting the county?    

The Alamance County Health Department currently has a team of four communicable disease nurses that investigate close to 2,000 reported diseases annually. Since 2014, there has been a 150 percent increase in communicable disease cases that the health department has investigated, and prior to COVID-19 there was a mumps outbreak in the community, LoGiudice said.