By Michael Pineda
An early meeting of Mayor Shelli Selby’s COVID-19 Task Force concluded with an announcement that she intended to sign a proclamation revoking mask restrictions.
Selby said she intended to sign the proclamation after the meeting. City Manager Tammy Kretchmar said the proclamation had not yet been signed as of Thursday afternoon.
“This has been a journey for all of you,” Selby said. “I felt that it was vital that we just not take my thoughts or the city’s thoughts.”
The mayor hedged her stance, noting the mandate could go back into effect should there be another surge. She also noted people had the right to continue and wear masks, pointing out she would do so.
During the meeting, updates were provided on the state of the virus. City Manager Tammy Kretchmar said the city had no positive cases and only had one person in the last two to three weeks. That employee has recovered.
“The one was kind of like a surprise because the numbers have continually stayed down,” she said. “The health department came to the city and gave shots to the employees. The city also offered incentives for those receiving the vaccine, three PTO (paid time off) days. It was a big help. Everyone loves vacation days.”
Mask restrictions have focused on restaurant servers, cooks and bar employees along with people at city-owned properties.
Yukon Police Chief John Corn said the department is 70% vaccinated and the incentive may push others to receive the vaccination. Fire Chief Shawn Vogt estimated two-thirds of his staff had also been vaccinated.
In terms of vaccination efforts, County Health Department Regional Administrator Maggie Jackson said the department is looking for places in Yukon to conduct vaccine outreach events. Churches have been contacted and there is traction with West Metro Church for a homeless vaccine event.
Latest figures indicate, 31.6% of adults over 16 had at least one dose of vaccine. About 65.65% of those 65 and older had at least one dose. Jackson said there is a drop in demand within the state and the health department is reaching out to high-risk groups.
There are currently 9.3 new cases per 1,000 people, a number that continues to drop in the county. Overall, there are more than 300 active cases, Jackson said.
Integris Canadian Valley Hospital President Teresa Gray said there are three people hospitalized with COVID-19 and two have fully recovered. There is also only one caregiver in the county out with COVID-19, as the hospital begins to relax some restrictions.
Masks will continue to be worn. However, face shields in non-COVID areas are no longer required. Visitors are allowed and the effort has begun to bring back volunteers.
Not all on the task force were for the withdrawal of the mandate. It was also pointed out that the CDC recommended masks continuing to be worn.