By LESLIE EIKLEBERRY
Saline County will keep its mask mandate in effect for at least one more week.
That was the consensus of the county commissioners during their meeting this morning.
During his COVID-19 report to the commissioners, County Health Department Director Jason Tiller recommended that the mask mandate continue. A component that was built into the mask mandate when it was adopted was that the commissioners review the the county's COVID-19 situation every two weeks and upon that review decide to rescind the mandate or do nothing and keep it in place for another two weeks.
Commissioner Robert Vidricksen noted that even if the commissioners voted today to repeal the mask mandate, the City of Salina would still have a mask resolution in place. He also noted that the state has a mask order in place, though the commission could vote to opt out of the state order.
"I agree with Commissioner Vidricksen. The city is really driving this bus. When I voted for the mask ordinance and made it 3-2, my reasonings were two things. One was to stay consistent with the city. I didn't see that there was any reason for the rural areas to be different than the city areas as far as law enforcement. And then second of all, my third vote was also predicated on my worry that we were overwhelming the hospital. That is obviously not happening. I'm not saying that it couldn't take an uptick, but that's why I was in support of this," Commissioner Monte Shadwick said. "I agree with Commissioner Vidricksen. There's no reason for us to vote today, or next week, if the city hasn't done anything."
During his presentation, Tiller noted that COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States continue to trend downward, although he noted a rise in some states. That decrease is reflected in the state numbers, as well as those of Saline County.
"Erradication is certainly not likely, but we are still trending in the right direction," Tiller said.
For the two-week update, 44 new cases were reported, bringing the county total to 6,061. Additionally one new COVID-19 related death was reported and Salina Regional Health Center reported one COVID-19 inpatient.
"Due to the lack of continued demand at the testing site that was at the Church of the Cross, that site has been closed down by the state," Tiller told the commissioners. "There are other places still if someone is looking to get tested they can either call their primary care provider or go to that website gogettested.com/kansas and be able to find a site and contact information for a place to get tested."
Tiller said that the county is now registering and vaccinating all phases of the vaccine plan.
"You can either go to the vaccinatesalinecountyks.com website to register. There are also other places such as Dillons Pharmacy, B&K, Key Rexall, the hospital, I believe, is receiving some this week. There is continued widespread availability of vaccine for those who want it," Tiller said.
He also said that people who wanted to get vaccinated could go to vaccinefinder.org and find a location offering vaccinations.
According to Tiller, 33 to 34 percent of the adults in the county will be vaccinated by the end of this week.