Suspected Mold Closes Portion of Health Clinic

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A portion of the Redbird Smith Health Center in Sallisaw is now closed because of suspected mold the Cherokee Nation reported Tuesday.

The facility located at 301 N. 4610 Road will undergo an environmental assessment to determine the extent of the issue. It is unclear how long the portion of the center will be closed.

Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Molds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation. People with mold allergies may have more severe reactions, the CDC’s website states. Some may not suffer any symptoms at all.  

The exposure to any suspected mold is thought to be minimal for employees and patients at the Redbird Smith Health Center, a news release from the Cherokee Nation states.

“The health of our employees and patients is our utmost concern, so we wasted no time in closing the affected portion of the facility,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “In the meantime, we are working quickly to reroute patients with existing appointments to other clinics. We are also preparing the annex to provide limited medical care.”

Many services will be shifted to the Redbird Smith Health Center Annex, which will be equipped to see a limited number of patients by the beginning of next week, a news release states.

Patients with previously scheduled appointments will be contacted to reschedule, according to the Cherokee Nation.

Those who would normally go to the Redbird Smith Clinic for care or prescription refills will be referred to the Wilma P. Mankiller facility in Stilwell, Three Rivers facility in Muskogee or W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah, according to the news release.

Dental services will be unavailable during the closure.