Saline County Commissioners Tuesday approved a plan presented by county health officer Jason Tiller which will advance forward the reopening of Salina and Saline County.
Tiller provided an update on the COVID-19 pandemic with case count numbers for the State and then Saline County. In Saline County, 1,044 people have been tested and Saline County has a testing rate of 19.25 per 1,000. There have been 8 hospitalizations since our first case in March and 2 deaths.
On May 26th the Governor returned authorities to the Counties to handle making their own reopening decisions. To maintain continuity and to have appropriate time to meet with important stakeholders, Tiller signed a local health order to keep Saline County in Phase 2 following the Governor’s Ad Astra Reopening Plan.
After discussions with stakeholders with input from multiple business sectors, it was determined that continuing a phased reopening process was best and the emphasis that data would be used for further reopening. Tiller emphasized the data is not just about case numbers. Testing rates need to increase and the percent positive from testing needs to continue to be low and deaths need to remain low.
Other factors that will come into play is hospitalizations at Salina Regional since they are a regional hospital, COVID patients from other areas could affect our healthcare resources.
The plan moving forward is to move Saline County into Phase 3 on Friday, June 5 th.
All businesses, events, and activities will be allowed to open and mass gatherings would be limited to 50 people or less with still following social distancing recommendations and disinfection guidelines.
Phase Out would be slated for June 19 th. Tiller noted that 31 other counties across the State are taking a phased or modified approach to reopening.
“For all of this to be successful, everyone has to do their part. Every individual has a responsibility and a choice to do what they feel is right,” Tiller said.
Tiller emphasized the need to continue to practice social distancing as much as possible, wearing masks in public, staying home if you’re sick, and continue to wash your hands.
Tiller asked for Commissioners to reaffirm the decision of the local Health Officer and adopt the phased reopening plan.
Commissioner Shadwick read a prepared statement ending with, “I feel we need to continue to advocate for social distancing and safe practice but lift restrictions immediately and let Saline County get back to business.”
Commissioners voted 3-2 to reaffirm the local Health Officer’s decision, Commissioners Shadwick and Sparks dissenting.