SHELBY — As it awaited word on whether Richland County would move to purple in the state’s coronavirus color-coded system and any ramifications, the Shelby City Health Department provided an update Wednesday, Oct. 7 to City Council’s Safety Committee on the Shelby case count.
“We are up to 67 (total) cases in the city,” Shelby director of nursing Tiffiny Ellenberger told the committee, citing cumulative data (as of Oct. 7) that dates back to March. “Sixty have recovered, and six cases are active, and we have had one death since our last meeting.”
Some of the increase in cases can be attributed to working at congregate facilities such as nursing homes and prisons, Ellenberger said.
The meeting, a day of Richland County staying "red," included a discussion of mask-wearing and compliance.
Committee member and Councilman Garland Gates cited a personal experience at a Main Street retail business that he did not name.
“In this particular case, there were three employees in there wearing masks, all down under their chins,” Gates recalled. “When I said something to one about wearing her mask up over her nose as I was wearing mine up over my nose, she more or less just blew me off, mumbled something and turned and walked away.”
Beth Conrad, the city of Shelby's director of environmental health, told the committee on Wednesday: “What we do is if we get a complaint, we go out and talk to them about it and say, ‘This is what you’re supposed to do.’ ”
When it comes to issues of people not wearing masks, Conrad said she was advised via a city legal official that no law is being broken. So, “I don’t have anything I can do," Conrad told committee members.
Later, Gates said in reference to mask-wearing: “If people choose to be stupid…There’s a saying, and you’ve probably seen bumper stickers, ‘You can’t fix stupid.’”
“And that may well be where we are at,” Gates added.
In other business, Shelby Fire Chief Mike Thompson reported that Richland County Emergency Management Agency officials had dropped off COVID-related supplies for Shelby crews to use in the field.
“Since this is Fire Safety Week, just to remind everybody about open burning — there is none, other than 3x3 dry, clean wood,” he said.
“And if you live against that field — a cornfield or a bean field and it is very dry,” Thompson said, “please reconsider before you do that, before you have a problem.”
Thompson also updated the committee on a grant proposal involving MARCS — the new “Multi-Agency Radio Communications System.”
“What we are all eligible for is half of our service costs,” Thompson said of the grant through the state State Fire Marshal's office.
“So half of what we have right now is $4,300,” he added.