County Board gets COVID-19 pandemic update

County Board gets COVID-19 pandemic update

Posted Aug. 12, at 2:15 a.m.

By: DANIEL WINNINGHAM

Enquirer~Democrat managing editor

Kent Tarro, director of the Macoupin County Public Health Department, was the only guest to speak Tuesday evening at the regular monthly County Board meeting. He reported the county’s confirmed positive COVID-19 cases continue to increase and also encouraged the wearing of masks.

“We have a problem here in that our numbers are going up,” Tarro said. “If the numbers being going up, it’s only a matter of time before hospitalizations go up. If hospitalizations go up, it’s a matter of time before more people start dying.

The total number of cases reported by the county was 215 as of Tuesday evening, which was an increase of 21 from the Aug. 10 tally of 194. On Aug. 8, there were 14 reported new cases. There were 12 new COVID-19 cases reported Aug. 7 as well as 10 new cases Aug. 5.

“We’re all about trying to prevent the spread of the disease, hospitalizations, acute problems that can cause death,” Tarro said.”…You have no idea what people say to us and how they act in defiance of this. Where are the problems? Bars, restaurants, wedding receptions, businesses that use their place as a coffee clatch, occasionally churches. I ask that, and you all are, that you be good citizens and good leaders and wear your mask.”

Many dining establishments have patrons enter without proper face coverings, according to Tarro.

“We have restaurant owners that are dealing with people who come in without wearing a mask. It’s ridiculous.”

Tarro stressed the work of his department in remaining ahead of the coronavirus pandemic will continue.

“We’re trying to prevent deaths until we get an effective vaccine,” he said. “That is our end game, why we’re working so tirelessly doing what we’re doing, trying to contain this.”

Tarro also expressed concern about local schools returning to in-person class.

“I am a nervous wreck about schools opening up,” he said.

Board member Sissy Vojas said according to a new state law, businesses not enforcing the wearing masks would get two warnings, then face up to a $250 fine.

“Now, it’s enforceable by law,” she said. “If this doesn’t work, they are going to go after  individuals.”

One board member said his experience was that many waitresses in local restaurants were not wearing masks.

Vojas said those employed in restaurants had better be wearing masks now.

Later, Tarro stressed the importance of taking the proper precautions as work toward a vaccine continues.

“We’re trying to contain until we have a vaccine,” Tarro said.

He told board members he was not in favor of students attending class in-person five days a week, but admitted he supports more of a “hybrid model,” or more of a blended approach.

Animal control administrator

The board convened in executive session from about 6:45 to 7:12 p.m. to discuss the animal control administrator position.

Andrew Woesthaus is now serving as the county’s animal control administrator. His last day is potentially Friday, Aug. 14, according to Duncan.

Woesthaus plans to return to school and become a biology teacher, Duncan said.

Next meeting

The next Macoupin County Board meeting will take place Tuesday, Sept. 8, at 6 p.m.

Look for additional updates on the Macoupin County Board at enquirerdemocrat.com.