Jefferson County healthcare worker blasts health department over COVID response during ceremony honoring her service


JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. – A medical assistant, who is retiring after 26 years, blasted the Jefferson County Health Department Board of Trustees for continuing to do so little to address the Covid-19 pandemic, as she was honored for her service at Monday afternoon’s meeting. 

“I’m embarrassed to wear our logo,” “I’m embarrassed to wear our logo,” said retiring Jefferson County Health Department worker, Ginger Vance, referring to the board’s decision in August to overturn a mask mandate the day after it passed.

The decision made a mockery of the department, she said.

Jefferson County now has the highest infection rate in the St. Louis area and 5th highest in the State of Missouri according to County and State statistics.

Board members now wonder what kind of impact a mask mandate may have over the past three months. 

Dr. Alex Garza of the Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force updated the board on cases and projections during the meeting.

Jefferson County is nearing 11,000 total cases for the pandemic, with nearly 40 percent of them coming in the past three weeks.  The positivity rate is nearly 37 percent. 

Health Director, Kelley Vollmar, alerted the board to one set of state projections showing that if the county continued to do nothing, total cases could top 200,000 for the county with nearly 6,000 total deaths, in the next six months. 

The county has no mask or social distancing requirements and no limits on business capacity or social gatherings.

“The time is now to ask our board and our community to respond. We have seen a dramatic increase in our cases. We’re seeing more severity in our cases in terms of hospitalizations…we do not have a formal mask mandate or any kind of mandates in Jefferson County. It’s been left up to individual responsibility,” Vollmar said. “Unfortunately, we’re seeing a lot of community spread, which is not indicating that we’re doing a real good job of keeping control of that and staying in front of it…we need to make a change. What we’re doing isn’t making a difference.”

The board was still meeting early Monday night with no indication any action would be taken.

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