Five things to know from Friday’s Crawford County Commission meeting

Staff Reports
  1. County Health Officer Dr. Tim Stebbins updated the commission on the number of COVID-19 deaths that have been reported in the county. As of last week, the number was 35 and now sits at 64. Stebbins stressed that this drastic increase was not because a large number of deaths occurred last week, but rather because the county had finished reconciling numbers with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to include deaths of Crawford county residents that occurred in facilities outside of the county or state.  
  2. The commission also heard an update from county health officials about COVID-19 vaccine distribution. County Health Department Consultant Janis Goedeke announced that this week alone the health department vaccinated 600 people but stressed that it was a “drop in the bucket of what we need.” Stebbins chimed in, asking the public to be patient, as they have over 6,000 people to vaccinate in Phase 2 of distribution alone and with the current rate they are receiving doses of the vaccine, which could take up to 10 weeks.  
  3. Stebbins informed the commission that big changes could be coming to distribution of the vaccine. He said currently the focus is on getting people the two doses of the shot as quickly as possible, which he said decreases the overall amount of people that can get it at the moment. However, he said thanks to national officials, that could be changing to focus on just getting as many people as possible the first dose and worrying about the second dose later. “Even the first dose provides significant immunity,” he said, “and decreases the severity of the illness, which we want. We don’t want people dying from this.”  Stebbins said the vast majority of local health officials support this move as it could help get the community closer to “herd immunity.”  
  4. The commission approved the bids for the rock to be used on road work in the county. However, County Counselor Jim Emerson noted that when an outside engineering firm tested the rock some of it did not meet the required standards.  
  5. The commission took a 30-minute executive session to do an employee evaluation of Crawford County Mental Health Center Executive Administrator Michael Ehling.