Woodward County Commissioners had an in-depth discussion with officers about the area’s covid outbreak during the weekly meeting Monday morning.
One concern is for the Woodward County Jail, which has been on lockdown status since March with temperature checks and mask requirement in place, according to Sheriff Kevin Mitchell.
“This is what we’ve been trying to avoid,” Mitchell said. “We avoided it for a long time but we're doing some extensive testing.”
According to Mitchell, contractors are also required to wear masks in the jail and are provided with basic surgical masks if they don’t have one of their own.
“Those are primarily made for being in a sterile environment… not real effective,” Emergency Management Director Matt Lehenbauer said. “It's better than nothing but it's hard to get your hands on what is totally effective, and they’re very hard to breath in.”
The most effective are N95 masks which are extraordinarily expensive, according to Lehenbauer.
“I just got everybody (inmates and employees) cotton, cloth masks. You can wash them,” Mitchell said. “We’re doing the best we can do.”
According to Lehenbauer, the next three months could be rough and challenging.
“Fatalities are still low,” Lehenbauer said. “Most of the fatalities are right around that 75 year old range.”
As of Sunday Woodward has 167 active cases (note: 197 active cases in Monday's numbers), five in Sharon, 13 in Mooreland and 9 in Fort Supply, according to Lehenbauer.
“Statewide, we’re looking rough at a 70% week to week increase in cases.” Lehenbauer said. “Oklahoma City patients are being sent to Arkansas.”
According to Lehenbauer, he recently received a grant for $50,000 for a sanitizer making machine.
“It makes basically a bleach solution,” Lehenbauer said. “Schools, daycares, nursing homes and state facilities for free, any government or nonprofit entity we're offering it now to be able to make it here locally.”
District Attorney Christopher M. Boring said his office is open to the public this week, but he is suggesting the county consider putting up some signs highly encouraging people to wear masks at the courthouse.
“I don't want to tell anybody to wear a mask,” District 3 Commissioner Vernie Matt said. “But in order to keep the courthouse open we’re going to have to mandate it.”
Lehenbauer stressed that confined space and close contact for 10 to 15 minute timeframe is what is shown to spread covid. He recommended getting reviews from each department to help prevent close, extended contact with individuals visiting the courthouse.
The board approved Boring and Sherry Goodwin for requisition officers and Susan Meinders and Megan Martin for receiving agents for the District Attorney’s office.
Commissioners approved county participation in the Circuit Engineering District Auction set for March 12 and 13 in Elk City.
A declaration of surplus for a CAT motor grader for District 2 to go into the Warren CAT buyback program was approved, in addition to other regular business.