City, county leaders extend limited mask mandate orders
The Warren County Board of Supervisors and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen took action Monday to extend the community’s mask mandates and social distancing measures through early May.
Supervisors will ratify their decision during their next meeting on April 5 to extend the county’s orders through May 3, while the city took action during a special meeting Monday to extend its orders through May 1.
“My suggestion is we do it a month at a time from now on,” Warren County Board of Supervisors President Dr. Jeff Holland said. “We need to watch our numbers coming out of spring break and watch and see what the variants do.”
Monday marked the one-year anniversary of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Warren County. In that time, Warren County has seen 4,242 cases and 117 virus-related deaths. The city and county have also been among the most steadfast governmental agencies maintaining mask mandates.
While the state has ordered mask mandates at times through the first year of the pandemic, the city has maintained a mandate at some level since July 18, while the county has worked in partnership with the city and installed a mask mandate on July 20.
Even though the orders have been extended, they are the most lenient orders the city and county have had throughout the pandemic. Recently, the city removed nearly all other virus-related restrictions and allowed businesses to return to full capacity. The county, which at times had limited some business and community actions, has only extended its mask mandate for businesses and public buildings as well as urging social distancing measures.
While December and January were among the worst months for the pandemic locally, February and March have seen the number of new cases and estimated active cases fall dramatically.
In January, the county reported an average of 36.9 cases per day, the worst of the pandemic. In February, that number declined dramatically to 8.5 per day. March is even better. Thus far, the county has seen just four new cases per day.
In addition, Warren County continues to outpace state averages when it comes to getting residents vaccinated. Through Monday, state health officials reported 27 percent of Warren County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, compared to 23 percent statewide. The report also showed that 14 percent of county residents are fully vaccinated, which matches the state’s 14 percent.
Mayor George Flaggs Jr. on Monday also announced that the city’s Senior Center — recently renamed the Sue Roberts Senior Center — will reopen May 3 with limited programming.
Cases of COVID-19 in our public and private schools since students returned to the classroom in August have been minimal.... read more