Health dept. concerned with lack of quarantine space for students


Diedre Serene, Marion County Health Administrator reported in Monday’s Marion County Board of Commissioners meeting that there are currently 54 active COVID-19 cases and one hospitalization (the report released at the end of the business day reported the number at 63).

Serene brought up a concern that there needs to be a health order issued but she is not sure how to go about it. She said on March 16, 2020, the Marion County Board of Commission declared a local disaster for COVID-19 after the State of Kansas declared an emergency in response to the pandemic on March 12, 2020. The County continues to have an open-ended disaster declaration from July 24, 2020 which still remains in effect until it is rescinded.

She explained that during the 2020-20221 school year, Tabor College was able to isolate and quarantine students who were positive or exposed for COVID-19 due to an agreement with Kansas Division of Emergency Management which began on October of 2020 due to the still open county disaster declaration. She said that Tabor was able to make due with seven homes surrounding the campus, owned by the college and along with an additional facility of the old Hillsboro Hospital.

Serene said that the facility and extra housing is no longer available due to flooding, heating and space problems which is an issue since “COVID-19 cases, fueled by the Delta Variant, began to rise extensively, within the State. This has created a need for shelter location for Tabor students whom cannot return home to isolate.”

Serene noted in a letter she wrote to the board that she supports the establishment of a COVID-19 shelter to provide space for those students who test positive for COVID-19 and have been ordered by the Marion County Health Department to isolate. She said this also applies to those who can’t return home who have been ordered by the health department to quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure.

Randy Frank, Emergency Management Director, explained that the declaration is still in place since things are not over and there is still a need for a declaration. He also explained that Tabor needed a document of some sort for the board in order to be eligible for federal reimbursement of expenses since the State is no longer under a disaster declaration. The declaration is sufficient to cover Tabor but documentation is needed. This will allow Tabor to qualify for federal funds for isolation and quarantine accommodations.

Road and Bridge

County Engineer Brice Goebel brought up the upcoming procession plans for Father Kapaun on Sept. 25 and the need for a place on Remington Road for emergency services to have a space for parking for any emergencies rather than using county property for parking.

“If someone else, either the Sheriff’s department or the church, wants to man it and be responsible for it so we can hand it off to them that is one thing, but we do not want to be liable for any of it,” said Attorney Brad Jantz.

The board decided to rope it off and leave it available for emergency service only in case there is a need.

Goebel update the board on 330th west of Tampa where water came over the bridge and took off some newly laid chip seal. He stated that the damage was taken care of by the contractors.

Park & Lake

Superintendent Isaac Hett updated the commissioners on the grant he was looking at applying for to help with the repairs and restoration at the Park and Lake. He said that he was able to speak with someone who had experience with the grant and they encouraged him to put it off for a year in order to provide more information once it is available.

“I think it would be better to hold off and then in the off season, we can research structures and look into all of it,” said Hett.

Hett and the board decided to revisit the topic in the future.

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