BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LEE COUNTY – Lee County Supervisors voted on Monday to continue a mask mandate in public places after a lengthy discussion on the issue.
Supervisor Garry Seyb, Jr., said at Monday’s regular Lee County Supervisor’s meeting that he wasn’t anti-mask, but said with vaccinations ramping up and the other mitigation efforts in place, it was worth discussing lifting the mandate because he’d been receiving calls from county residents.
“I’m not in any way anti mask, but I think it’s worth taking another look at. We have measures in place, we have plexiglass up at the counters,” Seyb said.
Lee County Health Department Administrator Michele Ross said her recommendation is to adhere to Centers for Disease Control recommendations which are to wear masks in public places where social distancing isn’t always possible.
Ross said close to 24% of Lee County residents have been fully vaccinated which means both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, plus two weeks. She said state numbers are at about 27% so Lee County is lagging a bit behind the state total.
As of Monday’s report from the LCHD seven new positive tests were reported over the weekend from Friday at 3 p.m. to Monday at 3 p.m. The county’s 14-day positivity rate is 2.5%. The county’s 7-day rate is 3%. The state’s 14-day rate is 4.6%, while the state’s 7-day rate is just behind at 4.5%. Thirty percent of the all the state’s new positive cases over the past seven days are from the age group 18-29.
Lee County Recorder Nancy Booten said there have been very few issues with the mask mandate and said the office can still do work over the phone, via the Internet or through the doors for anyone who doesn’t have a mask.
Supervisor Chairman Matt Pflug, who also serves as a liaison for the Health Department, said things seem to do be going well and he’s heard very few complaints of service while the mask mandate has been in place.
Pflug said the county is still seeing some virus activity and with the new strains being discovered in the state, he would prefer to see the mandate left in place. The move was passed 3-0 with Supervisor Rick Larkin absent. Seyb abstained.
In an unrelated issue, County Engineer Ben Hull asked for authorization to create weight embargos on county roads that are being heavily used as motorists find undesignated detours around Hwy. 2 west of Donnellson.
The state is current replacing two bridges on the stretch of Highway between Donnellson and Farmington and has the roadway closed. Hull said that will probably last through the construction season.
He said the state Dept of Transportation has agree to reimburse the county for dust control measures on the gravel roads being used for the detours, but Hull said he would to have discretion to post 10-ton load limits on roads for extra usage from heavy highway vehicles.
School buses, emergency vehicles, and vehicles hauling home heating fuel, animal feed, and commercial garbage haulers would be exempt from the embargoes.
That motion also passed unanimously.
This story has been updated to reflect Seyb’s abstention from the vote.