By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
Sandra Bell, executive director of the Ste. Genevieve county Health Department, informed the County Commission last Thursday that the county had had a 17th positive COVID-19 test result.
She also pointed out that several additional incorrect positive tests had been erroneously reported. That one was due to “a glitch” in the system, in which former county residents are frequently listed as residents.
“There’s a glitch in the system, where if they have an address or they see a medical provider in the county, it cites to us. They maybe used to live here, but moved to another county. We’re getting Cape, Perry and St. Louis counties; they still come to us,” Bell said.
Surrounding counties have had ballooning numbers of cases. Perry County was up to 119 cases and St. Francois County 129. Meanwhile, as part of the spiking St. Louis region, Jefferson County had climbed to 438 cases.
A bad outbreak at The Estates of Perryville nursing home added to Perry County’s issues. Presiding commissioner Garry Nelson said his Perry County Commission cohorts were furious with the nursing home’s management.
Nelson said he understood there were 80 cases in the facility.
Bell expressed praise for Ste. Genevieve County, where the majority of citizens have tried to follow the Center For Disease Control [CDC] guidelines.
She praised the Riverdogs baseball organization for following procedures during their games and tournaments.
“I give the Riverdogs kudos,” Bell said.
She added that, “Everyone is trying real hard.”
“They’re trying to do it right,” Nelson agreed.
Bell said the biggest questions restaurants have had is how to deal with buffets.
“We’re giving them guidelines,” Bell said. “One of the big ones is, do not let kids go to the buffet.”
She added that in addition to the possibility of not observing good sanitary habits, children’s height places their faces basically at food level.
“Kids are right there; their faces are right there,” she said. “They don’t need to be coughing, breathing, sneezing, whatever.”
With more of the county’s dining establishments offering indoor and outdoor dining, Bell said she is glad to see that most of them are still spacing things out and in many cases, only using every other table.
“Which is really good,” she said. “The biggest message we’re trying to get out is, ‘Yes, you can open up, but don’t stop using common sense.’”
Nelson also stressed that Bell should hold onto COVID-related expenses and turn in one final invoice at the end, so the county can request federal money.
Now that some 60 paved parking spaces have been added on the north side of Market Street, the commissioners addressed the county lot across the street.
For many years the county has owned the paved lot between Holy Cross Lutheran Church and the historic Kempff building, now home to Harold’s Famous Bee Company.
The .227-acre lot is barely used, despite a “parking for county buildings” sign. The church mainly uses it during worship times.
“It’s of no use to the county,” Nelson said.
It was agreed that the lot would be advertised for sale. Nelson said he assumed the surrounding property owners would be the only ones interested in the parcel.