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Commissioners get update on COVID-19

The Mower County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday morning and once again COVID-19 was at the forefront of proceedings, done largely through an online format.

Various departments gave updates on how the county is facing the pandemic, starting with Lisa Kocer, head of Mower County Health and Human Services, reporting that the county received an additional $80,813 in support money to help combat the coronavirus that as of last count has left six people in Mower who tested positive.

On another front, Mower County Sheriff Steve Sandvik gave an update on the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) that was approved by commissioners last Wednesday.

Austin Fire Chief Jim McCoy is coordinating the effort and reporting to Sandvik. The intention is to provide central coordination for the rest of the county in terms of making sure emergency responders are getting the supplies they need.

“We open the EOC for the needs throughout the county as a mission of our organization,” Sandvik told commissioners. “We can monitor their needs for PPE (personal protection equipment) and make sure they are getting the resources they need.”

However, some confusion came up when Mower County Attorney Kristen Nelsen noted that emergencies can only be declared for three days until otherwise amended by the governing body, in this case the Mower County Board.

After some conversation, the board voted to extend the county emergency through April 7, when they will revisit it once again to determine if it needs to be extended.

In other news, the commission voted to adopt the implementation of the Cedar-Wapsipinicon Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan as well as approving a memorandum of agreement.