By MARK EVANS
Only 29 active COVID-19 cases were on file as of last Thursday morning.
There were another 36 probable cases, provisional county health department administrator Jeannette Wood reported to the Ste. Genevieve County Commission, with two death and two current hospitalizations-although there could have been additional county residents in hospitals outside the county.
She also reported that the county’s total number of cases since March, rose to 1,205.
“To me, the total numbers, yes they mean a lot,” said Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson, “but to me, active cases are the real figure.”
They also discussed the Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s change in quarantine guidelines from 14 days to 10 days with no symptoms or seven days with no symptoms and a negative test.
Wood also said the health department staff would be taking part in a Zoom meeting to update them on the anticipated availability of vaccines and the procedures in obtaining them.
Wood also noted that Missouri had been criticized on a federal level for its handling of the situation.
Nelson said he has talked with Cedar County officials. Governor Mike Parson signed Senate Bill 391 in 2019.
“The fine print in that bill limits local control,” Nelson said, noting that it was because of complaints about large-scale hog farms and other concentrated animal feeding operations
Nelson said Cedar County tried to force the company to limit the number of animals penned up together. This led to a state-wide bill “that takes health out of local control.”
Nelson is frustrated that Parson has publicly put the onus of making decisions on health-related mandates on city and county government, but had eviscerated their ability to do so in SB 391.
“When he sits up there and says it’s up to the local health departments, read Senate Bill 391. It will tell you exactly why he will not make a state-wide mandate.”
A movement is now afoot to repeal the bill. For now, though, it is still on the books.
“That’s the reason he will not mandate a mask,” Nelson said, “because he’d be going against a senate bill that he signed. You can hear anything you want on the news, but this is the reason.”
NELSON ADDRESSES NEW BOARD MEMBERS
Nelson also addressed Wood concerning a concern she had raised over new appointments to the county health board.
The board had two openings after Wood and Jim Brumfeld had resigned. The commission appointed Linda Chapman and James Brochtrup to fill the spots – if both accept the position.
Nelson stressed that this was important since, “If you’ve got a five-person board, you’ve got to have a quorum of three,” and that having only three of the seats filled put that quorum in constant danger.
He said that one of the appointees will probably accept the position, but the other would probably only agree to it if they can participate in board meetings via Zoom.
“At the same time we had this discussion, you told me you were still on the board,” Nelson said. “You resigned. Just for courtesy, we accepted both resignations, yours and Jim Brumfield’s.”
“I understand it now,” Wood said, explaining that it had sounded like the commissioners were going to wait and see about officially accepting the resignations and that she had not heard anything definitive since then.”
Nelson said they waited a week or so, to give Wood a chance to “see what a hornets nest you were jumping into” before officially accepting the resignation.
He then repeated a state statute that bans board members from holding paid positions overseen by that board either while active on the board, or within one year of leaving the board.
This has been the cloud hanging over Wood’s head since she accepted the position and the reason for the “provisional” title.