Charlotte Democrats divided over handling of Hepatitis A situation

Thousands exposed in Hepatitis A outbreak

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Normally mild-mannered commissioner Dumont Clarke directed sharp criticism at his often-outspoken Democratic counterpart Pat Cotham.

That came after Cotham took issue with Mecklenburg County's response to the Hepatitis A crisis.

"It sure would be nice if we had some experts, and here we are again," Cotham told WBTV on Monday.

Irresponsible and incorrect are the words used by Clarke in describing Cotham's analysis.

"I believe we have a host of experts in the form of public health officials on the local, state, and federal level who are doing an excellent job," Clarke said.

County health officials say more than 1,300 people have received free vaccinations over the last two days after it was discovered that an infected worker was preparing food at a Little Rock Road Hardee's restaurant.

Local Health Director Gibbie Harris is finding cooperation from other parts of the state.

"The state has agreed just recently in the last couple of hours to allow any health department in the state to provide free vaccine to those affected by this," Harris told reporters.

Commission Chair Ella Scarborough is among those praising the county's response of dissecting the problem at the restaurant and setting up clinics not long after.

"Once we found out what it was and how it was we took care of it," Scarborough said.

However, moments after the county wrapped up its news conference on Thursday, Commissioner Cotham doubled down.

"This would be good if we had a board of health, not the county commissioners being the board of health," she said.

Commissioner Vilma Leake calls the concept dead on arrival.

"So, we will not be discussing the issue of a board," Leake said. "Not at this time."

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