Public health administrator discusses coronavirus preventative measures

Public health administrator discusses coronavirus preventative measures

Board approves transportation grant

Macoupin County Public Health administrator Kent Tarro advised County Board members Tuesday night on the present status of coronavirus in the area and what preventative measures can be taken to impede the disease’s spread.

“We don’t have any coronavirus cases here yet,” Tarro said. “The best thing you can do is wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use alcohol-based sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol. Also avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

“Cover your coughs and sneezes,” Tarro said. “If you’ve got nothing, cough right into your elbow. Clean and disinfect the surfaces that you touch often, and stay home when you’re sick.

“Avoid close contact with people who do appear sick,” Tarro said. “Close contact is six feet. The further away you are when somebody is sick, the better. A cough or a sneeze will emit thousands of droplets.

“We consider somebody at high risk if they have been in close contact with somebody infected,” Tarro said.

Tarro also handed out a packet of information about what preventative actions polling workers can take during the elections, which included much of the same advice, with the addition of disinfecting voting-associated equipment and ensuring that bathrooms at polling stations are adequately supplied with soap, water and drying materials.

The packet also included the recommendation to incorporate social distancing strategies when feasible, namely the distancing of polling booths from each other, the limitation of nonessential visitors such as children or grandchildren and discouraging voters from greeting each other with physical contact such as handshakes.

“The incubation period for coronavirus is five days,” Tarro said. He also added that there have been no confirmed cases in Springfield.

After the meeting, Tarro confirmed that the Macoupin County Health Department might begin to recommend a few closings for public areas and businesses in the event of a major outbreak.

“It kills the economy to do it,” Tarro said. “It does damage to the social fabric of a small town. We’ll only do it if we have to, but I don’t anticipate it.”

Public transportation grant

Also on the matter of public health, the board approved (16-0) the authorization of the execution of the Federal 5311 Grant Agreement to be used toward Macoupin County Public Health’s transportation program. 

The board also unanimously accepted a special warranty which ensures fair treatment of public transportation employees, as well as approved Section 5311 Rural Downstate Operating Assistance which specifies that the county does in fact want the public transportation program.

Matters of recognition

The board recognized Olivia Turley for earning her Girl Scout Gold Award with Girl Scout Troop 6415, the highest and most prestigious honor a Girl Scout can receive. As her Gold Award project, Turley organized an annual pet show for the Macoupin County Animal Shelter, which served as a fundraiser and adoption event for the adoption center. Last year’s event resulted in the adoption of four pets.

Mid-year budget review

County Clerk Pete Duncan reported that the county is the closest it has ever gotten to hitting the recommended 50 percent mark for general fund expenses, coming in very close at 50.4 percent. Revenues brought in approximately 45.5 percent of what the county had budgeted for the year.

Next meeting

Board Chairman Mark Dragovich announced that next month’s county board meeting has been rescheduled for Wednesday, April 15 at 6 p.m.