WAPELLO — The Louisa County Courthouse in Wapello will remain locked to the public for at least one more week, after the county board of supervisors agreed a recent outbreak of COVID-19 in a Wapello care facility was a concern.
The board agreed during its regular meeting Tuesday to keep the courthouse locked after reviewing an email from Louisa County Public Health Service Administrator Roxanne Smith.
According to Smith’s email, which she sent to supervisors Brad Quigley, Chris Ball and Randy Griffin on May 15, there had been 22 confirmed cases of the disease at the Wapello Nursing Home.
Ten of the cases involved residents at the facility, which is owned by Care Initiatives, West Des Moines, while 12 staff members had also tested positive.
“Due to this new outbreak in Wapello, and its potential spread in the community, I think it is appropriate to wait at least another week before re-opening the courthouse,” Smith recommended to the supervisors.
She suggested a re-evaluation could be conducted at the end of the week or the board could opt to just close the courthouse for two weeks right away.
“I think we should look at the two-week period,” Quigley said during Tuesday’s meeting.
However, county auditor Sandi Elliott reported officials in the county clerk’s office had requested some guidance in determining when the courthouse would reopen to facilitate scheduling of court cases.
“I agree two (weeks) would probably be better, but we can take it one week at a time,” Griffin said.
“I don’t have any problem with that,” Quigley replied.
The board finally settled on a tentative June 1 opening, but agreed to review the re-opening at its May 26 meeting.
“We’ll either be full steam ahead or we will slow down,” Ball said.
Meanwhile, county treasurer Vicki Frank said she would make her own decision on providing public access into her office.
“I’m going to do appointments when I do open my door because we are going to be inundated by so many people,” she explained.
In other action involving COVID-19, Louisa County Extension Service Director Kathy Vance presented a proposed Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) request to the board for approval.
Vance said if the grant is approved it would be used to cover translation services being incurred by the Louisa County Public Health Service and the Community Health Center of Southeastern Iowa, Columbus City; and two standup temperature scanners.
The grant would be administered through the Louisa Development Group, which is operating in partnership with the extension service.
In other action, the supervisors:
• Received monthly updates from conservation board director Katie Hammond, mental health and disabilities director Bobbie Wulf and general assistance director Cyndi Mears;
• Approved plans and specifications for a bridge replacement on Louisa County Road W66;
• Approved a land transfer between Larry Lihs and the conservation board;
• Approved $1,344,281 in claims.
The large claims approval included a $980,428 payoff on June 8 of the outstanding bond balance for the 2008 construction of the new county jail.
The payoff followed several months of discussion with local cities over the remaining bond payments, which were funded through revenue generated by a voter-approved local option sales tax.
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