OCHD presents new advisory

By H.B. Dodds, Staff Writer
Posted 1/14/22

Osage County Health Department (OCHD) Administrator Kim Sallin presented a new advisory reflecting updated guidance from the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Missouri …

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OCHD presents new advisory

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Osage County Health Department (OCHD) Administrator Kim Sallin presented a new advisory reflecting updated guidance from the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) for "Shortened Isolation and Quarantine Period for General Population." 

She had briefed commissioners last week on the likelihood of this guidance. Details included a new quarantine recommendation. It's now five days, rather than 10, after documented exposure to COVID-19. That is, though, without experiencing any symptoms. There are variations, including longer quarantines and the use of masks. They depend on vaccination status and any presence of symptoms.

She has yet to hear from Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) authorities on new school recommendations so her current advisories for schools in the county remain unchanged. "I would like for [schools] to keep doing whatever they're doing," she said. "I'm waiting for the DESE guidelines." 

She does expect that guidance to change soon. "Hopefully, I'll hear sooner than later."

In consequence of the new CDC guidelines, and other issues surrounding the pandemic, Gov. Mike Parson has canceled Missouri's "State of Emergency." This is another reason many "orders" are changing to "recommendations." Commissioners encouraged Sallin's change of direction.

"I trust in you 100%," said Trenshaw. "Those recommendations are good."

Sallin emphasized she's still heading in the same direction but the language is softer. "I haven't veered off," she said, still believing in what she's urging people to do. She's also responsible to the agencies holding OCHD accountable.

At the time of her report, there were a total of 2,668 cases of Corona virus documented in Osage County, 45 of which were active. There were 14 breakthrough cases, including two patients who were fully vaccinated with the booster shot as well. Three citizens were hospitalized, one of whom was under age five.

There is now one more case of the flu documented, bringing the season's total to 10. While the case load is low, the season has been lasting longer in recent years. Sallin's ready with more flu shots. 

"As long as we have the flu shots here, we will continue to give them," she said.

Road and Bridge

Osage County Road and Bridge Foreman had his crews ready for any upcoming weather event. With cold weather, the roads are too frozen to grade gravel. He's set his sights on getting "everything ready for the next big thing," he said. "Trucks are ready for the next big weather event. We're prepared."

Commissioners questioned him about fuel blend. Kempker has all the receipts with winter fuel blend documented in the paperwork. If anything should happen similar to a cold-weather event last winter, he's prepared. He can demonstrate responsibility to the vendors providing the fuel.

Department employees hauled rock on CRs  423 and 432; crew members performed service on Grader #04, and  Trucks #29, 39, and 48; mowers worked on CRs 721 and 731; and graders worked on CRs 314, 421, 608, 731, 804, and 807.

911/EMA

Osage County 911/EMA Director Ron Hoffman continues to do his homework on the proposed switch from Solacom to Intrado communications systems in the Osage County Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The only thing concerning him at this point is the possible difference in phone systems. Cole County has CenturyLink phones, while Osage County still uses AT&T.

Hoffman is unsure if incompatibility will disable the cooperation feature. He and commissioners are enthusiastic about being able to work with neighboring counties. 

"Some things may not move as smoothly," he said. 

It could be a hidden cost down the road.

He has recently received six applications to fill telecommunicator openings. "We've got to filter down through them," he concluded. 

Miscellaneous

Commission approved paying bills from Dec. 18 through Jan. 3 totaling $58,389.23 as follows by department: 911/EMA ($12,414.44), Assessor ($675), Building & Grounds ($627.18), Circuit Clerk ($58.26), Commission ($1,073.33), County Clerk ($21.10), OCHD ($2,348.04), Juvenile and Family Court ($3,462.41), Miscellaneous ($5,204.48), Prosecuting Attorney ($300), Public Administration ($506), Recorder ($500), Road & Bridge ($3,386.16), Sheriff-Jail ($13,257.83), and Pentecostal Bridge ($14,555).

Commissioners approved sending a final invoice totaling $76,451 to Eldon C. Stutsman, Inc., the trucking company whose driver wrecked the Pentecostal Bridge. This is for salvage operations only and is in response to an offer from Stutsman for $71,400. The difference is a bill that recently arrived from Bartlett and West Engineering. Also on the table is a desire for the county to assume all future liability related to the wreck removal. That's a request the county will deny.

Meramec Regional Planning Commission Environmental Programs Manager Tammy Snodgrass will conduct a Hazard Mitigation Plan meeting at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8.

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