By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
Unlike some county health departments in Missouri, the Ste. Genevieve County Health Department will not completely back away from the COVID-19 issue.
Executive director Jennifer Mueller told the county commission last Thursday that a number of health departments have completely backed off and “aren’t doing anything” as far as overseeing potential COVID quarantine situations.
This follows Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt threatening legal action against school districts and public health departments if they do not drop COVID-19 mask mandates and quarantine rules.
“We encourage you to take immediate action to remove all unconstitutional and illegal orders,” Schmitt said in a letter to public school officials and health departments across the state last week. While the court ruling doesn’t take effect until late December, Schmitt said he is enforcing it immediately.
“We will still call people,” Mueller said. “We aren’t changing. We still plan to call COVID cases and see how they’re doing.”
The only change, basically, is that instead of requiring anyone to “isolate” or “quarantine,” they are just “strongly recommending” that they do so, as not to potentially infect others.
Mueller said one positive she hopes to see come out of the situation is for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) begin going to aggregate reporting.
Schmitt’s letter came in response to a late November ruling by Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green. Green ruled any orders based on an existing Missouri Health Department rule that grants power to local public health agencies to issue orders to control the spread of disease, were unconstitutional.
In his ruling, he said that this practice will “permit naked lawmaking by bureaucrats across Missouri.” He also barred health departments from making any future rules. This includes setting quarantine requirements for children attending school.
Mueller also reported that there were five new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county, one new probable case, 15 total suspect cases and 29 active cases.
Additionally, 50.5 percent of county residents have initiated their COVID vaccination process, while 46.7 percent have completed it – although many of the earlier recipients are now due for a booster shot.
LOOKING INTO R & B SHED
The commissioners discussed the new shed to be built on the road and bridge lot again with foreman Scott Schmieder.
An old shed will be torn down to make room for the new, larger one. Schmieder said that while the foundation for the old shed is 42 feet in depth, the building itself sticks out to 42-feet-6-inches.
The new shed would be 42 feet by 22 feet and would butt up against the existing metal shed.
See entire story in the print edition.