The Crawford County Commissioners met for their weekly Friday meeting, at which a main discussion was held about the COVID-19 update. Linda Bean, from the Crawford County Health Department, attended to present on the update to the commission and public.
Bean stated that her report is positive, as compared to prior weeks, and that she has felt pretty good about how things have gone this week. She reported that as of Thursday, September 17 the county has had 75 new cases this week, which is down from 149 last week and 302 the week prior to that. Bean said she feels a lot better about these updated numbers, as she also reported that the overall trend for the week is decreasing—significantly more compared to the past weeks.
Bean reported that the number of current active cases is 160, which is a “significant decrease.” She said this is because many college students are coming out of quarantine. Additionally, Pittsburg State University has a total of 20 in isolation currently, with another 10 expected in the next few days. Bean also discussed that hospitalization capacity rates “fluctuates every day” and that testing turnaround time is still between 24-72 hours. She reported that overall for the community the county is at “moderate impact” and is currently in the “yellow,” due to numbers “trending down.”
She also discussed how schools are going within the pandemic, as they have not yet been open more than a few weeks, saying they look “very good.” Bean said there are three new cases in the middle and high school, also that in-school quarantine numbers are down from 365 to 153. She stated that the virus has maintained “low impact in schools.” Bean said she is happy to see the numbers trending down. Bean stated that she thinks it’s important to prioritize the schools, explaining that EpiNurses will now manage new cases and quarantines in schools; she added that the next priority is focusing on long-term care residences.
After discussion with the public, Bean explained how the county is working to not use fear as a tactic, as she said, “we don’t want fear, we haven’t done fear tactics.” She followed by addressing the public’s concerns, stating, “I don’t really think there’s numbers for us to fear.” She stated that with their growing knowledge of the virus, their priority would be visiting those in nursing and long-term care homes as well as creating normalcy in schools, but they must find the “safest possible time” to return to normalcy.
“I assure you and everyone that the decisions that we make want to be based on what’s going on in our community, and that’s more than just the healthcare side of it,” Bean said.
Bean stated that in the following few weeks or month they will be able to know what the spread looks like from the 18-25-year-old age group to the older age group.
Within new business, Don Pyle, county clerk, discussed inquiries from the public about drop-off locations for mail-in ballots. Pyle said the plan for them is to get boxes from the state, which they won’t get until the first or second week of October and that advance ballots will go out October 14. One box is set to be located at the Judicial Center and another at the Crawford County Courthouse. He stated that the boxes will be emptied daily and will be emptied last at 7 p.m. on Election Day. Pyle added that there will be more information as it becomes available. He said he wants people to know about this information so they may choose whether or not they want to vote via mail or not.