Health Department reduces some quarantine guidelines
Osage County Health Department (OCHD) Nurse Kim Sallin briefed the commission on the OCHD response to new United States Centers for Disease …
Health Department reduces some quarantine guidelines
Osage County Health Department (OCHD) Nurse Kim Sallin briefed the commission on the OCHD response to new United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. The OCHD agrees with essential workers and students going back to work or school after 10 days. This applies to people who are identified as coronavirus contacts, but have no symptoms. They must wear masks and continue quarantine protocols away from work or school.
"This gets them back to work four days earlier than our previous policy," said Sallin.
She admitted, though, "We're giving a little, but not a lot."
The reason the OCHD won't go to the seven-day return which the CDC has endorsed is local experience. This indicates the disease often activates seven to 10 days after exposure. Also, rural counties lack the ability to test comprehensively. They can't follow procedures being enacted in metropolitan areas. The CDC is relying on jurisdictions capable of that kind of testing. There, citizens can "test out" earlier than rural health departments are able to allow.
After a lull during the Thanksgiving holiday, COVID-19 cases are surging again in the county. Lower case numbers appear to have been due to reduced testing rather than the virus receding. Hospital censuses dipped during that period as well, but are now rising dramatically. The OCHD predicts a similar lull and surge cycle for the Christmas and New Year's holidays. They're trying to prepare for a flood of cases after Jan. 9.
Osage County Second District Commissioner Larry Kliethermes expressed special concern for what happens to students during the Christmas break.
It appears the disease is not spreading in schools or workplaces as much as in homes and social gatherings. Events with structure and authoritative leadership are proving the effectiveness of certain strategies. Teachers and bosses can and do enforce these. This is why Sallin believes the OCHD can shorten some quarantine protocols for workers and students.
The commission agreed and signed the new "Policy on Quarantine, December 8, 2020." It went into effect on Dec. 9.
Road and Bridge
Osage County Road and Bridge Foreman Ron Kempker reported things are going well in his department. Recently purchased Truck #49 and Trailer #24 are now in full operation. "The driver and everything are working fine," said Kempker. "Everything else is running smoothly out there."
The department hauled rock on CRs 303 and 508, crews replaced a culvert on CR 303, brush mowers worked on CRs 241, 242, and 243, and grader operators worked on CRs 241, 242, 243, 244, 401, 412, 413, 414, 506, 507, 508, 512, 602, 607, 608, 610, 611, 612, 613B, 631, 633, 634, 715, 726, 727, 733, 734, 804, 805, 806, 807, 821, and 822.
Commissioners approved Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act grants as follows per application: OCHD ($2,395, $12,773.32, $106.64, $33,842.93, and $32,296), Osage County Clerk's Office ($2,737.31), Osage County 911 Center ($3,299.61, and $5,556.72)), Osage County R-2 Schools ($46,429.93), Meta Fire Protection District ($25,415.50), Osage County R-1 Schools ($6,597.59), village of Freeburg ($8,640), city of Linn ($1,678.72), Barb's Gently Used Clothing ($39,856.77), and the Osage County Sheriff's Office ($12,418). Another application from the sheriff for $65,472 was approved with Osage County First District Commissioner John Glavin dissenting.
These grants were pre-approved for agencies to make proposed purchases: city of Linn ($31,5778), Linn Fire Protection District ($8,714.06), city of Meta ($5,920.97), Loose Creek Community Club ($24,215.03), and the Owensville Fire Department ($9,000).
There is one other application the commission desires to partially honor; however, it is for more than the balance of funds left in the county coffers. Commissioners wish to withhold that grant for a week or so. Then they'll know how much the pre-approved applications are fully utilized. It's also possible a county office may have a last-minute emergency need that qualifies. They will reconsider once the deadline for invoices from pre-approved awards passes. Then they'll award what's left.
The light fixture broken while repairing the ceiling of the front porch of the Osage County Courthouse has been repaired. Osage County Presiding Commissioner Darryl Griffin and Osage County Building and Grounds Janitorial and Maintenance Worker John Kennedy reported that it looked very good. Kennedy will repaint both fixtures before reinstalling them.
Commissioners approved Christmas Eve, Thursday, Dec. 24, to be a paid county employees' holiday. This followed Gov. Mike Parson's declaration that it would be a paid state employees' holiday. The commission will run an ad in the Unterrified Democrat notifying the public. The Courthouse, Administration Building, and Road and Bridge Shed will be closed that day. Citizens wishing to pay personal property and real estate taxes can pay by check. They can use the new dropbox at the Osage County Collector's Office. It faces Main Street near the door to the Administration Building.
Commissioners approved the payment of bills from Nov. 19 through Dec. 7 as follows by department: 911/EMA ($20,127.82), Assessor ($3,109.50), Building & Grounds ($755.05), CARES Act ($328,779.32), Circuit Clerk ($360), Commission ($128.25), County Clerk ($26.70), Elections ($1706), Health Department ($39,494.52), Miscellaneous ($53,852.05), Prosecuting Attorney ($1,563.95), Recorder ($101.93), Road & Bridge ($57,740.27), and Sheriff-Jail ($36,230.90), for a total of $543,976.26.
Griffin asked fellow commissioners to look over the Sales Tax Distribution Deposit Notices from November. Deposited Dec. 7, the original sales tax yielded $57,464.39, $7,460.79 higher than 2019, which was $2,212.82 higher than 2018. The 911 sales tax brought in $61,889.71, $3,418.42 higher than 2019, which was $4,571.55 higher than 2018. The courthouse renovation tax pulled in $61,889.75, $4,976.30 higher than 2019, which was $3,013.40 higher than 2018. The infrastructure tax paid $31,101.58, $1,861.73 higher than 2019, which was $2,488.14 higher than 2018. The use tax netted $26.743.79, $472.74 higher than 2019, which was $4,954.59 higher than 2018. The Proposition P Sales Tax for Law Enforcement brought in $57,570.51, still in its first year.
"They look good," Kliethermes commented.
These were the final deposits for the 2020 fiscal year. Department heads must balance their 2020 budgets against money already in the bank. Adjustments, amendments, and transfers, especially from CARES Act funds, are still possible.
Commissioners approved timesheets from the sheriff's office and signed outgoing checks.