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New Hill County COVID-19 restrictions start Wednesday

County average still twice as high as target to avoid new restrictions

 

Last updated 11/2/2020 at 1:03pm



Hill County Public Health Director and Health Officer Kim Larson said this morning that a health officer order imposing new restrictions to try to reduce the spread of COVID-19 will be signed today and will go into effect Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Larson has said that this order would go into effect if the number of new cases in the county exceeded an average of 50 per day per 100,000 residents — an average of a little more than 8 per day for Hill County — between Monday of last week and Sunday.

She said the calculated per day was 136.06 per day per 100,000.

The update released by the Hill County Health Department Sunday evening reported the county has a total of 897 cases with 295 active cases, 22 current hospitalizations and 23 COVID-19-related deaths.

The order, among other things, limits the size of social gathering to 25 regardless of the feasibility of social distancing and stipulates that all restaurants, food courts, cafes, bars, pubs, taverns, breweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, clubs, and casinos shall be required to close for inside business by 12:30 a.m. and reduce that operation to 50 percent capacity.

At the Hill County Health Board’s weekly COVID-19 update conference call last Friday, Larson said her office has received a high number of complaints from a state database which was recently made able to take complaints for pandemic mandate non-compliance.

The database, which has been in place for many years, was recently updated so people can file complaints about businesses that are not complying with local or state public health guidelines amid the pandemic and can be found on the state’s Department of Public Health and Human Services website.

Larson said she’ll be working with the Hill County Sanitarian-in-Training Will Lorett, and Hill County Attorney Karen Alley to address those complaints.

Larson said Hill County hasn’t seen as many complaints as many other places in the state, but there are still quite a few.

Lorett said while they are working through the complaints, for now they are only calling businesses.

Hill County Commissioner Mike Wendland said many of the complaints have just been observations of individuals not wearing masks and, for now, the situation involving these businesses is just being monitored.

Larson said the state recently hit a new high for the number of new cases in one day Friday with more than 1,000 new cases.

The state Friday morning reported 1,063 newly confirmed cases.

Larson said the number of cases confirmed in Hill County last week was down from the previous week, which she said was encouraging, however, many of these new cases have lots of close contact which can be a problem.

“I’d really like to stress the importance of keeping your social circle small, knowing who you’re around and limiting exposure as much as possible,” she said.

She said the department is focused primarily on contact tracing and everyone is working hard, but at this point they cannot get in touch with so many close contacts on the day that they find them.

Larson said they generally should be able to get in touch with them by the next day however.

The next COVID-19 update conference call will be Friday Nov. 6 at 1 p.m.

 
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