"Covid vaccines are working" reports the Henry County Office of Emergency Management

Beth Welbers
Geneseo Republic
Henry County Courthouse

The Henry County Board wrapped up 2021 with a whirlwind meeting Thursday December 16.  

A report from Board member Jeff Orton on Public Safety covered the most recent series of Covid Vaccine Clinics that have been done at the Health Department in Kewanee. Vaccine clinics have included children 5 -11.  A nine day sample of positive Covid results for the Henry-Stark area of 444 positives revealed the  following results:

  • 76% of all positive results in that time frame were to unvaccinated 
  • 22.5% of all positive results were recorded by people who were fully vaccinated
  • 1.5% of positive results were to fully vaccinated and boosted 

Matt Schnepple with the Office of Emergency Management that oversees the Vaccination Clinics stated, " The data suggests that the vaccines work."  

The Health Department is holding Clinics weekly.  Appointments are required, and cost of the vaccination is free. 

Occupancy of the Regional Emergency building south of Kewanee is expected to be sometime in June of 2022. The old Health Department building was purchased by the Office of Emergency Management to consolidate their equipment, and they will be offering continuing training to other counties from that facility, as well as using it for potential disaster preparedness in Henry County. 

In other business, the Transportation Committee announced they have taken delivery of a two axel dump truck that had been ordered, and 150 tons of salt are on hand. Bill Preston announced "We are ready for winter."

 The Board also authorized the purchase of $173,425 for body cameras for the Sheriff's department, in advance of a mandate by the State. An estimated $30,000 per year will need to be allocated in the future for perpetual storage of body camera footage.  Another purchase of $6761 was authorized for tactical gear, so that each squad car was equipped.  Sheriff Loncka stated that it would have been helpful to have had the equipment during the Black Lives Matter march earlier this year. "Fortunately it was a peaceful march." These additions will be paid from from the Public Safety tax. 

After a brief executive session, the Board authorized the new collective bargaining agreement with the Sheriff's Department and the Fraternal Order of Police.  Sheriff's deputies will receive a 5% increase in 2022, 4% in 2023, 3.5% in 2024, and 3% in 2025.  The hope is that the increased pay scale will make Henry County more attractive to new recruits, and keep pace with local agencies like Geneseo and Kewanee.