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Mask Ordinance Continues in Saline County

Hannah StambaughNovember 3, 2020

A mask ordinance will continue in Saline County.

Saline County Commissioners were provided an update Tuesday from Health Officer Jason Tiller on the mask mandate and the COVID-19 situation in Saline County.  Jason reported 238 new cases in the last 2 weeks and over 400 cases total for the month of October.  Yesterday, November 2nd was a record high day with a total of 52 new cases received in one day (42 of those were reported in the press release, and an additional 10 cases were received after the press release was issued).  Mr. Tiller spoke on the case investigation process noting that a single case investigation can take anywhere from 1 hour to half a day depending on the number of close contacts that need to be contacted.  There is a total of 11 staff that are working 6-days a week on case investigation.  Those staff are under an extreme amount of stress and often encounter unhappy individuals which can make case investigation even more difficult to ensure that potential close contacts are identified and contacted.  The Health Department does not have any control over when results are received as result are completely dependent on the lab that they are sent to.  He noted that it is very important that once an individual is tested they need to isolate at home until their test results are received back.

Mr. Tiller concluded his presentation with the recommendation to continue the mask order.  In relation to slowing the spread of COVID-19 he stated, “This only works if everyone does their part.  Wear your mask and wear it properly so it covers your nose and mouth.”  The County Resolution on the mask mandate is in effect until it is rescinded by the Commission.  No action was taken.

Some other highlights from the meeting include:

  • An amended memorandum of understanding was brought before the Commission today that will incorporate changes to the Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s grant program for the $2.7 million of Coronavirus Relief Funding that was received.  The changes include decreasing the amount of lost revenue that a business had to meet from 25% to 15% and increasing the amount that the businesses are eligible for per employee from $2,500 to $5,000 (which also increases the maximum a business can be awarded from $25,000 to $50,000).  This modification is an effort to get more funds out into the community before the December 30th deadline.  The Chamber Foundation intends to open funding up for non-profits as well.  Commissioners approved the amendment to the MOU with the Chamber of Commerce Foundation.  Businesses are encouraged to apply
  • A first alternate and second alternate Health Officer was appointed today by resolution.  Dr. David Dupy will serve as the 1st Alternate and Dr. Robert Freelove as the 2nd Alternate.  These appointments ensure continuity of operations, especially during this pandemic.  Each alternate will take an oath of office and will be bonded.
  • Saline County Planning & Zoning/Environmental Health was the recipient of a $4,500 grant from the Conference of Radiation Control Program.  Commissioners approved for this grant to be accepted and used for radon education, re-calibrating two monitors, purchase short-term kits, and conduct activities during Radon Action Month.
  • A Proclamation was read by Deputy County Clerk, Cheryl Blake, for “Election Worker Appreciation Day”.  Election workers devote long hours to train and prepare for their 14-hour shift at the polls on Election Day.  We appreciate all that these citizens do to protect the right of every citizen to cast a ballot.
  • Jennifer Fraser, Deputy County Treasurer, provided the Commission with the 3rd Quarter Idle Funds report.  $68,795.31 was received in interest earnings in the 3rd quarter, bringing the total to $331,084.74 so far in 2020.
  • Darren Fishel, Road & Bridge Director, provided his bi-monthly update on activities performed by the Road & Bridge Department in September and October.  One new generator and two re-used generators were set at the main shop building, Engineering office, and traffic control building.  One and a half miles of road was re-built in the Sundowner west area, 23 cross road and entrance culvers were replaced, 1 mile of Cunningham Road between Schilling and Water Well was reshaped and graveled, 6 miles of edge wedge was placed on asphalt roads, 97 signs were repaired or replaced, and they completed the hauling of 4,065 ton of rock, 4,773 tons of AB-3, and 3,480 tons of sand.
  • Justin Mader, County Engineer, provided his update for the Engineering Department.  Several projects were completed in 2020 including the paving of W. Water Well Road between Burma and Lightville for a total cost of $690,019, replacement of a culvert on Salemsborg Road west of Holmes Road for $57,716, hot-mix asphalt overlays in several areas as well as bituminous chip seal.  Mr. Mader informed Commissioners of the cost differences between the hot-mix asphalt overlay versus chip seals per mile resulting in a cost of $150,525/mile for the hot-mix asphalt and $21,774/mile for the chip seal.  Several projects that are under contract still need to be complete including 5 reinforced box culvert replacements, pavement crack seal, and aggregate shouldering.  These projects are slated to begin sometime in November.  The Engineering Department continues to work on 6 potential FEMA Mitigation projects that have the potential of bringing around $1 million in funds to Saline County to complete these and improve areas where flooding is prevalent.  Culvert inspections, plans for culvert replacements, bridge inspections, span bridge projects and reinforced box culvert projects, and continued road improvements are all in the works for 2021.

Chairman Vidricksen reminded everyone to be sure and “Get Out and VOTE!”  Polls are open until 7 pm tonight.  To find your polling place visit

The full agenda for next Tuesday’s meeting, November 10th will be released later this week and available on the County website  All County Commission meetings begin at 9 am on Tuesdays.

As we transition back to regular operations but maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, please be advised that there is limited public seating for County Commission meetings, and citizens are required to follow the City of Salina’s mask ordinance.  County Commission meetings can be viewed on Access TV, either via Cox Cable Channel 20 or online at

Copyright © Meridian Media, 2022. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced without Meridian Media’s express consent.




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