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No COVID Cases Again, But Immunization Rate Has Hit Ceiling

By MARK EVANS

STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD

While Ste. Genevieve County COVID-19 cases have bottomed out, the number of residents getting the caronavirus vaccine has hit a ceiling.

Jennifer Mueller, director of the Ste. Genevieve County Health Department, reported that the rate of residents who have initiated the vaccine process is 34.4%, while just 31.4% have completed it.

At one time the county had one of the highest vaccination rates in the state. Now it trails the statewide mark of 45.4% beginning vaccination and 39.4% completing it.

Missouri, meanwhile, lags far behind the national average of 55.7% initiated and 48.1% completed.

Mueller was asked whether she thinks county residents have become complacent, with the number of cases falling off the board, or whether they simply oppose being vaccinated.

“Both,” she said. “I think the people who wanted to get their vaccine have gotten it. I think the people who were on the fence are probably still on the fence. They’ll have to be another outbreak of something for them to get it. Then, I think we have a pretty good percentage of people who say, no, they’re not going to get it.”

The rest of the numbers Mueller turned in during last Thursday’s Ste. Genevieve County Commission meeting, though, were very positive. There were no active cases and no new probable cases. The 15-month total remains at 1,821, with 19 deaths and three probable deaths.

CHARTER CHURCH TO OPEN 2022 WORK

After discussing road projects, the commissioners and Scott Schmieder, road and bridge foreman, agreed that paving Charter Church Road will be the first 2022 project. They had considered trying to get it done this fall.

“It’ll be first out of the gate next year,” Schmieder said.

Another road decision was made. It had been previously agreed that the hill on Saline Creek Road needs to be paved with asphalt, rather than the chip and seal paving the rest of the road will get. Since  Blum and Cave Road will get asphalt paving, the decision was made to do the hill on Saline Creek while the pavers are on hand for the other nearby roads. That should not only save time and money, but would be easier to chip and seal pave up to both ends of the asphalt on the hill, than to do the asphalt after the chip and seal sections are done.

A motion was passed to incorporate the 6/10 of a mile hill into the bid request for paving the 7/10 of a mile of Blum Road and 1.1 mile stretch of Cave Road.

Presiding Commissioner Gary Nelson also went over the year’s budget with Schmieder, since it is at the halfway point.

Among the figures released was that just 40% of the road repair budget had been spent. Line items for fuel and tires were “right on target,” Nelson said.

Meanwhile, 55% of anticipated revenue had been collected.

Nelson also noted that the money for leased equipment can be taken from some other line item.

Nelson called the overall picture “really not bad.”

BOE HEARINGS TO BE JULY 20-21

The annual Board of Equalization hearings will be July 20-21. This is the year Holcim Concrete comes onto county tax rolls. As expected, the cement producer is challenging its assessed valuation.

A large number of speakers and other interested individuals are expected to attend. Therefore, it was agreed that a separate Holcim BOE hearing will be held at the community center at 9 a.m., Wednesday, July 21.

So far, only two other  entities have challenged their valuations. Those two will get a 9 a.m. hearing in the commission room of the courthouse at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, July 20.