Marion Co. prepares for reopening

Once again, the weekly Marion County Board of Commissioners meeting opened up with an update from the Marion County Health Department Administrator Diedre Serene.

“As of yesterday morning, we had 3,174 cases, 485 hospitalizations, 118 state-wide deaths, and 23053 negative tests. I have spoken with two of the local hospitals. At this point, they feel that they have adequate lab supplies to keep up with an increase in testing demands that may occur with movement in reopening. The facilities also feel that at this time, they have enough PPE to handle the positive wave that may occur with reopening. In the health department we are also working with local providers in preparation of what that reopening may look like for Marion County if the Governor defers back to the locals. I have been in touch also with the surrounding counties to see what they may do. And I think we are all pretty much in agreement as far as to what the next steps will be,” said Serene.

She outlined some of the staffing plans for if Governor Kelly does reopen the state on May 4. While she emphasized the continued importance of handwashing, social-distancing, and other safe practices, she stated that she and her staff feel prepared to handle the county’s needs if the county is reopened.

Serene did point out that there will most likely be more positives as well as more clusters as a result of people interacting more. She stated that it is important that the community not shame those businesses and places that do have clusters of positives as it is normal and bound to happen.

Marion County Emergency Management Director Randy Frank shared that Small Business Administration is now taking applications again since there is new funding.

He also stated that the Economic Injury Disaster Loans approved 116 loans for Kansas which totaled over 25 million dollars, and the Economic Injury Disaster Advances, which are the ones they do not pay back, handed out over $24.2 million in the state of Kansas.

Gayla Ratzlaff, from the Department of Aging, thanked Road and Bridge Director Brice Goebel for letting her and her staff use the Road and Bridge barn to do give Disaster boxes out of last week. Ratzlaff also shared about how her department is helping the elderly with their Homestead Acts. The deadline has been extended to July 15.

The Aging Department handed out commodities last week and also handed out the Disaster boxes.

The Commissioners also spoke with Ratzlaff and Extension Agent Ricky Roberts about working with Dickinson County with the County Extension offices combining.

In other business, the commissioners

n approved the transfer of a large spray truck from the Solid Waste department to Road and Bridge.

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