Rebecca Austen, Lincoln County public health director spoke to the Board of Commissioners Monday with an update on Covid-19. She said last week the county showed 58 cases. She said the numbers for November have been higher than they were in August, which was one of the counties highest months. According to Austen, the county is now aligning more with the schools on the metrics for opening. Starting tomorrow (12/3). She said the county over the last two weeks jumped to over 100 cases and that brought us to the high risk category.
Commissioner Hall inquired why the cases seemed to spike in November. Austen said there are about 15 outbreaks in businesses right now throughout the county and they are seeing high numbers from social gatherings. "I think everyone is really exhausted from this, they don't want to keep doing what we have been doing for the last nine months. Some people have reported that they are going to work, even though they tested positive, because they didn't have symptoms. People are tired and they are dealing with it by just basically ignoring it."
Another issue is businesses asking employees to come back to work before the mandated 14 day quarantine is done. She said these are things that are only going to make things worse in the long run. Commissioner Jacobson pointed out that we have been through this before and have been able to bring the cases down.
The county also approved the agreement for the small business relief grant with the state for just over $900,000 for covid relief for businesses. They hope to have the application process done by the end of the week. Money for those selected should be out by the end of December. They will be using the small business development center and chambers to help market the applications. Wayne Belmont, county council said they are working at simplifying the grant application process.