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Community Assesses Resources and Best Practices to Fight COVID-19

By Marlana Smith

An emergency management meeting was held at the Father Buhman Center in Shelbina on Tuesday, March 17.

Shelby County school personnel along with law enforcement agencies, commissioners, fire departments, nursing home staff and many others were present.

“As of today, at 4:30 p.m. there have been 266 negative tests (for coronavirus) in Missouri. Fifteen are positive and six of those were positive today. The numbers are ramping up,” said Shelby County Health Department Administrator Audrey Gough.

“We don’t have a timeline when we will be done with this virus or when we will have it under control. It is changing every day and minute,” Gough said.

“We are trying to keep people calm and put out the right information. We are working closely with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and Department of Health to be sure we give you the right information,” Gough added.

Gough said as of right now, there are no cases in Shelby County.

Emergency Planner for Rural Counties Region B Mason Alley gave a presentation on COVID-19.

Alley said, “As of March 8 we were just sitting at 550 cases in the states and 19 deaths. As of today, we are about to cross into 6,000 cases and just crossing into the 90’s and about to hit triple.”

According to Alley it will take 12-18 months before a vaccine can actually be developed, tested and then distributed to the public.

“All we can recommend is staying home with fever or respiratory-like symptoms. Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or coughing into the inner elbow and washing hands with warm water for at least 20 seconds or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer of at least 60 percent,” Alley recommended.

“Social distancing is actually one of the main proponents that we have been advertising. With a six-foot space and limiting the amount of people in a group,” added Alley.

Corey Eagan, owner of Greening-Eagan-Hayes Funeral Home in Shelbina, said, “We did get a Facebook page, just for the sake of having a live feed on there. The families are going to have to approve that. We would directly have the video on a minister.

“It’s going to be a difficult situation with us at the funeral home because we have more than 50 people come in and we know it’s a tough situation as it is. We are going to try do what we can. If that means in eight weeks having a service whenever this virus clears, then we will do that.”

Shelby County Associate Judge Mike Greenwell said, “The Supreme Court of Missouri has basically closed down the court system to any kind of live proceedings until April 3, for now. But, there are some things we will have to do in person.”

Greenwell said that if someone is sick with a fever experiencing other symptoms, he is going to suspend their three-week service in jail for now.

“Judge (Frederick) Tucker is going to be releasing a lot of people too so if you see some people who you don’t think need to be out it’s to protect the county and the people who we have to keep in jail for now and law enforcement,” Greenwell added.

The next topic was mandatory isolation.

Gough said, “There is a statute. As the health officer for the county and under State Statute, I have the authority by law to quarantine and isolate people in their home and enforce it by law. I am going to have to have back-up in regard to that. That is my biggest anxiety at the moment. Hopefully people will be willing to participate and not get to that point.”

Alli Peoples Shaw, owner of Peoples Clinic in Shelbyville and Clarence, said, “Our plan is to do fever checks at the door. The doors are locked so nobody is going to come in without an appointment and no more walk-ins. If they have a fever, they have to wait in their car.”

Diane Hatcher with the Shelbina Senior Center said the last day for the center to be open would be Thursday, March 19. Hatcher said, “Anybody who wants a meal can have it delivered to their homes. We will deliver a meal to anybody you don’t have to be a senior citizen.”

Laura Greenwell with the food pantry in Shelbina said if someone needs food to give her a call.

Shelbina City Clerk Tim Lacy said, “If anybody has problems not being able to pay utilities, we always have a policy where we will work with our residents and clients. So, if there is somebody who needs help, they can always come to us.”

Shelby County Presiding Commissioner Glenn Eagan said, “If you are wanting to help but don’t know how, you could go get a gift certificate from C&R because there are people out there that could use some extra food in their house.”