As part of their meeting on April 20, the county commissioners had a few items to discuss. Despite some technical difficulties, they and their guests discussed two very important items in particular. The first being an update from the County Health Board. The next, ad most relevant to Carver County residents, is the discussion of Phase III of reopening the county during the pandemic.

Starting off with the update from the County Health Board, Richard Scott, director of health and human services, presented the update. Starting off, Scott gave an update on COVID-19 in Carver County as well as vaccine progress. He stated that new cases are increasing, though much slower than before. He also noted that despite the fact that deaths look low right now, it’s important to remember that deaths lag behind.

As for vaccines, things are going extremely well, according to Scott. Even in the last two weeks, vaccinations have seen a big increase in Carver County. The average is over 800 per day, in no small part thanks to the many medical entities throughout Carver County. Scott estimated that there are about four vaccine clinics per week currently, so it’s been going well.

“It’s a joy to be part of an organization that has so many strong partnership,” said Scott.

Scott also gave an update regarding the honor of healthiest county. As previously state in a press release, the county is also looking forward when it comes to the wellness of Carver County. What that means is having discussions with struggling residents about why they are struggling, and working to make improvements wherever possible.

Those improvements can be policy changes, adding systems at the county level to help residents through the process, and more. This includes the Prosperity Carver program, Drug and Veterans Court, CareerForce, and much, much more.

With that in mind, the commissioners thanked Scott for his efforts, as well as the staff of Health and Human Services.

Next was the discussion of Phase III in reopening. County Administrator, David Hemze, presented he Phase to the commissioners. Like Scott, Hemze assured that even with the increased levels of infection, things aren’t as bad as before and vaccinations are way up.

What this means on the county level is fairly simple: more buildings can reopen. Throughout Phase I and Phase II, several county buildings were still closed to the public, including libraries. Even now, most libraries in the area are still technically closed with a grab and go system set up.

License centers have also been drive-thru only in an effort to help residents get their documents in a distanced and safe matter. According to Hemze, the response has so far worked, and should continue in order to ensure the safety of the residents. A very “if it’s working, don’t fix it” kind of thinking, and is clearly already working. As such, Hemze recommended that reopening the license centers could be revisited at a later date.

As for libraries, they have the highest movement through them. So far grab-and-go has worked extremely well for residents, and will continue as we wait for more and more restrictions to lift.

Board meetings also had to be considered. Normally, commissioner meetings are open to the public. However, restrictions made this impossible so far, so it was time to take a look at what the commissioners could do. Hemze brought up that it would depend on the issue, but they could only take 12 participants in the room in total so bigger public issues would be very difficult. According to Hemze, discussion would be in order.

Hemze asked for approval to begin moving forward with Phase III of reopening. It wouldn’t start until June 1, because staff would need time to prepare, so discussions could still take place. Approval was received and Hemze thanked the commissioners for their time.

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