Commission hears county COVID update

The Marion County Board of Commissioners met on Monday for their weekly meeting.

Road & Bridge

Brice Goebel, County Engineer, reported that he got Falcon Rd from 190th to Highway 56 rebuilt and is putting some surface rock on it today to finish it up.

He said striping was completed on all roads.

The auction date is set for Nov 17 for two pieces the county has including an old tourism bus and a wench for the dozier.

Goebel had previously announced that the bridge just south of 230th and Eagle has been approved for the off system bridge program. Right-of-way acquisition will be necessary. He asked that the commission sign off on it today.

The frame and deck of the mower that is shared by Road and Bridge and the Transfer Station got damaged. It will need to be replaced or repaired, but doesn’t need to be dealt with for this year since most of the mowing is done for the season.

Goebel brought up the possibility of Father Kapaun being made a saint could cause a substantial amount of traffic coming through Marion County and there may be a need to plan for that especially with roads.

“This process could be fairly quickly and it may never happen,” said Goebel.

The commissioners thanked him for his wisdom in considering this.

Health Department

Diedre Serene, Marion County Health Department Administrator brought up the issue of payment for county employees’ flu shots for those without insurance. She pointed out that flu shots tend to cut down on the amount of sick days taken by employees and recommended they be used.

Commissioner Kent Becker asked about rapid test availability.

Serene stated that as of this morning there are 104 confirmed positive PCR cases, 47 probable cases and 22 positive cases with one hospitalization. The health department continues to turn over all non household contacts to KDHE for contact and monitoring so sometimes it can be one to two days before people are contacted. Serene stated that they usually encourage positive cases to get in touch with people themselves that they have been around.

Serene also stated that numerous cases are related usually due to a large event. When you see large numbers, that is usually due to a large event.

Serene was asked a few hypothetical and vague questions by two commissioners including one that she is asked many weeks, which is how many have died from COVID.

Serene answered as she always does that only one has died according to the reports that are available to the public.

Commissioner Dianne Novak, then went on to complain that “so many are upset” about kids wearing masks and also being quarantined. She asked Serene who she continued to incorrectly call Diedra (Diedre) why kids must still be quarantined and why they must wear masks that don’t work.

“As I have explained multiple times in these meetings, scientific studies and others have learned that masks are effective in slowing down the spread. The school districts have made decisions on this and require the students to wear them. Many of the students can be quarantined together if they have to be quarantined. The hope is that with proper mask wearing and sanitization, they won’t have to. But sometimes they do. All of it is done to help keep the spread of the disease down,” said Serene.

In other business, the council:

n approved a salary change for Josh Houseman

n heard SPARK updates

n heard frustrations from Emergency Director Randy Frank

n met in executive session multiple times

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