BROOKVILLE — The Jefferson County Department of Emergency Services Director Tracy Zents gave a county COVID-19 update during the Jefferson County Commissioners meeting last Tuesday.

He said the Emergency Operations Center was moved back to a level four normal operations on May 8. The situation, he noted, is still keeping workers busy, but is manageable on a day-to-day basis.

“As of today, the county is still in the planning and response phase, but we’re also starting to move into the recovery phase. This phase will be indefinite depending on how long the situation goes,” Zents said.

County Emergency Services have filled 87 resource requests for personal protective equipment for first responders, hospitals, nursing homes and longterm care facilities. There is also continued disperse PPE from the strategic national stockpile.

Commissioner Herb Bullers asked if PPE was becoming more readily available yet, which Zents said was not the case. It is still an order and wait situation, especially for N95 masks. Jefferson County is still waiting to receive a large order of masks that was placed in March.

“We’ve been blessed; we were the last county to get a confirmed case of COVID. We’re among the first counties to transition from red to yellow phase,” Commissioner Jack Matson said. “I don’t think anyone believes our normal is going to be exactly like what it was in December, but we’re pushing really hard to try to figure out what our new normal is, to get there safely, responsibly, but also quickly when we can because we can feel our citizens getting antsy and wanting answers and clarifications.”

On the topic of moving into the yellow phase, Zents encouraged continued mitigation efforts from the citizens.

“It is important to for people to understand that the virus is still here and not to lose sight of that. Everyone of us have to remain vigilant that there is always the chance for more cases of infection if we don’t take precautions seriously,” Zents said.

The case count for Jefferson County remains at seven and 423 residents tested negative. The positive cases have been kept low so far, but Zents warned mitigation should continue to keep these cases low.

“While our numbers are low currently, we want them to remain low and with the majority of our residents practicing good mitigation measures, it is vitally important that we continue to do those things...” Zents said.

Zents said he asks himself one question; has the response been perfect? He says it hasn’t been, but that his team is continuing to look at ways to improve the procedures and processes. He thanked everyone for doing their part in limiting the spread of the virus in Jefferson County.

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