(BETHANY, Mo.) Hours before a public mask order was set to go into effect for Harrison County, the mandate was rescinded Wednesday night.
The order set to go into effect Thursday, Dec. 17, stated all individuals ages 2 and up would be required to wear a face-covering or mask in public. But following a public hearing with the Harrison County Health Department Board of Trustees in Bethany Wednesday evening, the order was rescinded. In a Facebook post, the health department announced the decision and thanked the public for their comments.
The now-canceled order was posted on the county health department’s Facebook page on Dec. 14, on the same day the health department notified the public another three residents had died from COVID-19.
“We have reached a critical point in our county. Our positivity rate remains extremely high meaning there remains a high level of transmission within our county of COVID-19. Our local hospital and hospitals throughout our region are near their maximum capacity threatening the health of all Harrison County residents. Doing nothing is no longer an option,” according to a Dec. 14 press release.
According to the state COVID-19 dashboard, hospitals in Northwest Missouri have less than 20 percent of beds available with 108 patients hospitalized in the region.
Wednesday the Harrison County Health Department reported a total of 572 cases and 11 deaths, a case-fatality ratio of nearly 2 percent. The state ranks the county 32nd in highest cases per 100,000 residents, and 3rd highest cases per 100,000 residents in the last seven days. As far as deaths per 100,000 residents, the state ranks Harrison County 43rd but it shows only 7 deaths total whereas the death toll for the county is 11. Nearly half of the 11 deaths were reported in the last month.
The press release also notified the five school districts within Harrison County that they must implement their own mask mandates.
According to state data, South Harrison R-II (935 students) has reported 49 plus cases since March 1, of that 18 cases were reported by the district in the last two weeks. North Harrison R-III (240 students) and Gilman City R-IV (138 students) schools have faired a little better, each district reporting 10 or fewer cases since March 1, of that 10 or fewer were in the last two weeks. Cainsville R-I (104 students) and Ridgeway R-V (86 students) each reported 10 or fewer cases since March 1, of that both districts report no cases in the last two weeks.
We reached out to the Harrison County Health Department on Thursday but officials declined to comment.