Grundy County Department of Health Board of Directors discusses ‘test to stay’ and updated COVID guidelines
The updated guidelines from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Department of Health and Elderly Services were discussed at the Grundy County Department of Health Board of Directors on October 13.e. The board also accepted a draft audit report for 2019 and 2020. In addition to the board members, a few health service employees and community members attended.
Anna Muselman asked specifically how Test to Stay for Schools works. The Missouri School’s COVID-19 operational guidance provided at the meeting explains that the option involves students, teachers, and staff identified as close contacts continuing to attend school and participate in extracurricular activities if certain criteria are met. Criteria include close contact not being household exposure, not developing symptoms throughout the quarantine period, wearing a mask consistently and correctly, and receiving at least three tests rapid antigen during the first seven days of the quarantine period.
Department of Health administrator Elizabeth Gibson said testing could be done in a school setting, but home testing would not work. Board member Taylor Ormsby said she understood the tests could be done at school or by a doctor.
Brandon Gibler said he heard there was no rapid test for asymptomatic people in Grundy County. Board member Korynn Skipper said that should change if Test to Stay is implemented.
She mentioned that at least one type of rapid test involves five nostril swirls and doesn’t involve sticking a swab deep into the nose.
Pleasant View R-6 Superintendent Rebecca Steinhoff said she was concerned about the cost of rapid testing for students without health insurance if Test to Stay were implemented. Grundy County R-5 and Laredo school nurse Angela Huffman said a minimum of $ 30,000 in funding would be provided to a school for testing if the school implements Test to Stay.
Skipper said she was surprised the Trenton R-9 School Board did not vote to implement the test to stay. She said there would be support for school nurses. She acknowledged that the updated Test to Stay guidelines had just been released, so there wasn’t much time to review the information.
Board member Phillip Ray noted that nothing with COVID-19 has stayed the same for a long time, and there could be a reason the school board has yet to decide to go with Test to. Stay. He said the district may want to consult a lawyer before taking action.
Gibler said he was not speaking on behalf of the school board, but he believed that one of the reasons the board had yet to vote to implement Test to Stay was that members were concerned that the number of testing doesn’t snowball.
Ormsby said the Department of Health is supporting school districts.
Regarding the draft audit report for 2019 and 2020, Gibson indicated that there had been no corrective actions.
Gibson also reported that the health department offers all three types of COVID-19 vaccines. She hopes to launch PCR tests in the coming weeks.
Ray commented that he was worried about the exhaustion of the health department nurses.
Gibson said the health department no longer works on weekends except for contacting people by text on Saturdays regarding COVID-19 contact tracing. She said the text says someone will call people on Monday. She noted that doctors’ offices are working.
Ray said he would like the staff to go home and not work, so they can take a break.
Skipper said that at this point residents should know what to do.
Skipper is the director of the practical nursing program at North Central Missouri College. She said nurses in the health department have the NCMC nursing program available to them. NCMC has resources that health care nurses could use.
Board member Cari Blackburn said health department nurses should rely on medics to give information on weekends.
Gibson reported that the health department has started a flu shot campaign.
Ray asked why clinics for healthy children had been shut down and Gibson said there was a lack of attendance. Community health nurse Sherry Searcy reported that towards the end of the health service offering the clinics, only about three people attended each, but those who attended were grateful.
Gibson noted that there were about 15 people each attending when there were two wellness clinics per month. She said she wasn’t sure what had changed.
The next Grundy County Health Department board meeting was scheduled for November 10.e at 5:30 p.m.