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Floyd County will use checklist to determine entry to courthouse

By Bob Steenson,

Employees and any potential visitors to the Floyd County courthouse will be asked to complete a short health survey before they enter the building, county supervisors decided Monday morning.

During the telephone conference special meeting, the board approved using a screening checklist that asks several questions relating to the person’s activities and physical condition.

The questions are:

• Have you, someone you live with or coworkers come into close contact (within 6 feet) with someone who is a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis in the past 14 days? If YES, restrict from entering the building. If NO, proceed to next question.

• Have you washed your hands or used alcohol-based hand sanitizer on entry? If NO, ask them to do so. If refusal to do so, restrict from entering the building.

• Have you had any of the following: Fever of 100.4oF or higher in the last 72 hours? Sore throat in the last 7 days? Cough in the last 7 days? New shortness of breath or difficulty breathing in the last 7 days. If YES to any, restrict from entering the building. If NO to all, proceed to next question. Also, while you are in the building, should you experience any of the above, you must report so and leave the building.

• Do you agree to wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer throughout the day while in the building; practice social distancing; not shake hands with, touch or hug individuals while in the building; and report changes to any of the above items or any COVID-19 related issues as described by the Center for Disease Control with the next 14 days to the department(s) you interacted with while in the building? If YES, allow entry to the building. If NO, restrict from entering the building.

The checklist originally had a question that would have restricted access from anyone who had traveled outside the state in the past 14 days, but after discussion between the supervisors and with Gail Arjes, administrator of Floyd County Public Health and Home Health Care, the board removed that question.

Supervisor Roy Schwickerath wondered why it would be OK to travel to Polk or Johnson counties in Iowa, where there are many cases of COVID-19, but it wouldn’t be OK to travel fewer miles north across the Minnesota border.

Arjes recommended removing that question.

The board agreed to start using the checklist immediately Monday, and gave Arjes the authority to make changes in the checklist as needed based on COVID-19 concerns or directions from the state or federal government.

Also at the meeting:

• The board held a lengthy discussion on determining what are the essential services provided by the various county departments.

Schwickerath said he had asked each of the departments to send him their list of essential services, but several had not done so yet, and he would ask them again at a department head meeting Monday afternoon.

County Auditor Gloria Carr said it’s important to get that list, because if it gets to the point where the courthouse is shut down, the county does not have enough laptop computers for every employee to take one to work from home.

County IT Director Bernie Solomon will need to know which employees to prioritize to set up the secure access that some employees will need to provide county services or perform county duties from their home, Carr said.

Some people may be able to use their own personal computers to work from home if there are no security concerns, she said, but the county needs to establish those priorities now.

• The board approved 2020 applications for Forest Reserve, Conservation Wetland/Native Prairie/Wildlife Habitat/“Slough Bill” property tax exemptions.

• The board heard a progress update from Brian Shindelar, site manager for the Samuels Group, the construction manager for the law enforcement center and courthouse update project. He said the current plan is for precast concrete wall panels for the LEC to begin being installed April 13.