By Mark Evans
Ste. Genevieve County provisional health department administrator Jeannette Wood reported to the County Commission Thursday morning that the county had 55 active COVID-19 cases, rising its 2020 total to 349.
By the time she addressed the Ste. Genevieve Board of Aldermen meeting that night, it had climbed to 67 active cases and 362 total.
Wood had previously warned about the dangers of the upcoming flu season, with many ill people having symptoms that could be either flu or the caronavirus.
“I’ve probably pontificated enough about the flu,” Wood said. “So many of these people (in quarantine) are home, feeling fine, then five days into quarantine they don’t feel good. We tell them to go see their doctor and the end up in the hospital and they end up with a primary diagnosis not only of COVID, but of pneumonia. So, that’s definitely going to be the next big push is to try to get as many people as possible to take the pneumonia shots.”
She said that one question she had been asked at the previous city meeting, whether she thought people would be willing to take a COVID-19 vaccine if one were introduced without Food And Drug Administration (FDA) approval.
“I think my answer is going to be no, because I think we’re going to have trouble getting people to take it if it is approved.”
Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson noted that it wasn’t likely any health care provider would be willing to assume the liability of administering unapproved shots.
Wood said she had seen an official posting that the county had 10 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Wood said she talked to Dr.. Matthew Bosner, who is also on the county health board, doubted that it was quite that high.
Nelson asked Wood asked Wood what else she thought the county could do to help fight the spread of the virus.
“I think I told you that I have a stand-up meeting every day with the staff,” Wood said. “It just seems like the community , they want it to go away and they really don’t know how to make it go away. I don’t know … We’re both going to put the numbers on Facebook anymore. We’re going to put the on our website because the nurses in the health department are getting beaten down, too. There area lot of nasty comments made on Facebook and they can’t take that personally. I tell them to consider the source.”
“When they signed up to be nurses at the health department, they signed up to do a job,” Nelson said. “When folks like us or yourself signed up for leadership positions you signed up to have sticks and stone thrown at you, but they didn’t.”
Wood said she faces harsh criticism “with stony silence.”
“I think they want me to give them permission to tell them they don’t have to quarantine their child” she said. “But I’m going to support those nurses, who on a daily basis are making those phone calls, which are dictated by the Department of Health and Senior Services.”
“Yes, they’re the messenger,” Nelson replied. “Don’t kill the messenger.”