Mask MandateThe Marshall County Commissioners met Monday morning in their second floor meeting room of the County Building.

Ashley Garcia, Administrator for the County Health Department was granted approval to apply for two different grants.  The first is a new vaccine grant in the amount of $60,601 that could help with COVID immunizations should they become available or other immunizations.  The second grant provides part of the salary for the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator in the amount of $31,385 with the additional  funds used to pay for expenditures related to emergency preparedness for the Health Department.  The commissioners approved both grant applications.

With Monday being the first day that county residents were mandated to wear masks when entering a public building and outside if they are unable to social distance by at least 6 feet, the Commissioners had lots to talk about.

Garcia said she has heard it all, from those who are supportive with thank-yous, those who are complaining and even those who are making threats.

Commissioner Mike Burroughs asked how this would affect schools and if the Health Department had been in contact with superintendents.  The County Health Nurse, Lisa Letsinger said they have been in contact with the schools and masks will be required.  He also asked about churches and funerals.  She said she hasn’t seen exemptions but churches may be considered private.  She encouraged them to wear masks and use social distancing techniques to protect the congregations.   For funerals it is recommended to wear a mask.

Garcia said Marshall County currently has the highest per-capita increase of positive COVID cases in the state and the governor and state health department have a watchful eye on Marshall County.

Letsinger said, “Doc (Holm) wants our economy strong.  He wants our businesses open, he wants our community healthy so in order to do that we’ve got to pull together and try to mitigate the increase of infection in our community.”  That’s the basis for Dr. Holm going forward with the mask mandate.  She also said using the 3-Ws will help…wear your mask, wash your hands and watch your distance.

Commissioners Kevin Overmyer said, “We are seeing more family units affected, and Letsinger said there is a facility in town with an “outbreak”.

While the commissioners are supportive of the mandate, at this time they are not going to pass an ordinance implementing a penalty for non compliance.  Overmyer said, “Let’s see how it pans out.”

Garcia said there are provisions through the state for enforcement although it is cumbersome.

Commissioner Stan Klotz asked how the health department is getting the word out to the Amish.  Letsinger said they will be heading into the Amish community with the mask mandate and provide additional information coming to them.