Oak Hill COVID-free; county approves budget


Oak Hill Senior Living & Rehabilitation Center in Waterloo brought great news to the close of a special session of the Monroe County Board on Tuesday morning.  Oak Hill Administrator Brian Koontz declared the facility “COVID-free.” 

“We have no active cases of COVID-19 within our walls,” he said, with the last resident clearing isolation Monday. 

He said one staff member had recently tested positive, but that person was quarantining at home and would not return to work until they were outside the required isolation time. While COVID obviously could return, he said keeping it out is a primary goal of everyone.

Oak Hill was hit especially hard by the virus, with 113 cases among residents and staff reported there with 18 total deaths.

Koontz praised the Monroe County Health Department for its support and assistance in achieving this milestone and promised to continue focusing on health and safety of residents and staff.  Asked if staff members would be required to accept vaccination for continued employment, Koontz said he had not made that decision yet.  He said until questions of effectiveness and safety are better answered, he would continue to consider the subject, but that he would be happy to be vaccinated himself and would decide on staff requirements later pending potential state or federal staff vaccination requirements. 

Koontz also announced that the senior care facility is completing work that will enable families and residents to visit without having to do so through small windows, but still without risks of physical contact. 

“Families will be separated by a plexiglass partition, and the visitors will not have to wear masks, so the residents able to see loved ones more clearly maskless,” he told commissioners. 

A new additional concrete sidewalk is also being completed to enable family members to safely walk to and from the visiting area he said.

Monroe County EMS Director Carla Heise also brought pictures of new advanced personal protective equipment being acquired to better ensure the health of ambulance personnel being called to transport potential COVID-infected people to medical facilities.

The helmet devices from Enviro Safety Products isolate wearers, covering users heads and faces completely and filtering incoming air.  

Ten of the units have been obtained at a total cost of $17,350 and two will be assigned to each ambulance unit.  Air filters are changeable to ensure proper, safe operation.

The Monroe County Budget was finalized and approved, and an appropriation ordnance and tax levy were both approved by commissioners.

To view the budget, click here

Although it was noted that this year’s budget has been difficult to manage due to COVID 19 issues and uncertain state finances, the coming year’s budget is projected to include a surplus of $147,327 once again.  The budget will be posted soon on the Monroe County website.

Financial support for the St. Louis Regional Freightways was approved for next year in the amount of $8,125.00. Commissioners directed Monroe County Economic Development Corporation head Edie Koch to keep them updated on the group’s work, especially as it applied to Monroe County.

The following Resolutions of Monroe County appointments and reappointments were approved:  Carla Heise as EMS Director; Dwight Boehm as Animal Control Administrator; Sheila Wetzler as Supervisor of General Assistance; Brian Koontz as Oak Hill Administrator; Mark Altadonna as member of the Assessment Board of Review; Laura Henry as Director of Mapping and Platting; Chris Voelker as Zoning Administrator; and Leland Mueller to the Maeystown Fire Protection District. 

In addition, commissioners approved moving forward on adding two new members, Doug Sondag and Lauri Browne, to the existing three Valmeyer Fire Protection District Trustees.  Terms for them to serve should be finalized at the next regular County Board session.

Finally, resolutions designating dates to be observed as holidays and for regular meetings of the Board of Commissioners were approved for fiscal year 2021.  These dates are available for on the Monroe County web site.

Dennis Knobloch ended the open session by congratulating Monroe County Board of Commissioners Chairman Robert Elmore, whose term will end in December, and sharing praise of county department heads for Elmore’s six years of elected service.

The board will meet in regular session next on Monday, Dec. 7 in the courthouse at 8:15 am.  A meeting agenda and the budget approved today will be available by clicking here

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