• Last modified 1579 days ago (March 19, 2020)


Mayor: City’s water safe to drink

Officials taking steps to ensure it stays that way

Staff writer

The gates at Hillsboro’s water plant are now closed and entry is by appointment only. The step is being taken to protect key city employees from COVID-19.

Hillsboro mayor Lou Thurston said the water department has only two employees trained to perform water testing. The city is putting measures in place to avoid those two coming down sick and being unable to guarantee the safety of the city’s water supply.

Marion city administrator Roger Holter said Marion is not taking any extra measures against the disease at this time. He said the public water supply should not be affected if someone in the county does become ill with COVID-19.

“The fragile vitality of the coronavirus in the open environment renders the threat of raw water contamination low,” Holter said.

Holter said water filtration and disinfection at the city water plant provide barriers to allowing a virus to spread in the water supply.

“Primary disinfection, with a target 4log — 99.99% — virus reduction should be effective in protecting the public,” Holter said. “Coronavirus represents a low health risk to the public through their water supplies.”

The city encourages the community to follow common sense recommendations to protect themselves from COVID-19 and other seasonal illnesses.

Those recommendations include staying away from people who are sick, practicing good hygiene by washing hands often, using hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available, and avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Prescription medicine

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas last week expanded COVID-19 coverage for its members.

The company announced it will cover the cost of tests for COVID-19 with no out-of-pocket cost to its members as long as the test is medically necessary.

It will allow members to refill prescription medications before they are due to be refilled, and encourages members to use their 90-day mail-in benefit.

BCBS is encouraging the use of telehealth and virtual care to reduce sick patients further spreading the virus by going to the clinic.

Courthouse measures

State administrators for the court system on Thursday issued instructions that will be obvious to people entering the courts.

Employees who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 will be placed on administrative leave. So will employees who run a fever of 100 degrees or higher, who have contact with an individual suspected or known to have the illness, or who care for a household member with a fever.

Signs are posted in courthouses alerting members of the public, including people involved in court cases, about COVID-19 issues.

One public notice lists steps to avoid spread of the disease. Another provides a phone number or email address to anyone who needs assistance in rescheduling a court case, or completing their court business without coming to the courtroom.

Judges and supervisors are instructed to assure distancing of six feet in courtrooms as much as possible, and meetings are to be conducted by telephone or video conferencing as much as possible.

A court can be ordered closed if a local COVID-19 outbreak happens.

District Judge Michael Powers canceled court hearings Monday. He told county commissioners that criminal trials will be delayed and bonds will be loosened to avoid the jail becoming overcrowded.

Other courthouse areas

As of right now, the county is discussing what precautions would need to be taken in the event of a local COVID-19 outbreak. There are no plans to close courthouse offices or prohibit public attendance at commission meetings.

Last modified March 19, 2020