Lyon County Commissioners voted to again extend the county’s local disaster declaration, Thursday morning. The declaration remains in effect through May 6.
Lyon County Emergency Manager Jarrod Fell told commissioners he was concerned about a decline in sign-ups for people to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.
“It seems to be a downward trend in those signing up for vaccine,” he said, noting that the county had 1,000 vaccines available for Thursday’s clinic and only 380 people signed up to receive vaccinations. “What I want everyone to know is, when we can’t use our vaccine that we get, our allotments, the potential is there for us not to receive more until that is used.”
Fell recommended those considering getting a vaccine to sign up at various places in the community, as vaccines are readily available.
He said certain vaccines, such as the Johnson & Johnson one-shot formula, will be becoming less available in the coming weeks as fewer doses are distributed to the state. Other vaccine formulas are still available.
“It’s a critical resource,” Fell said of the vaccines.
Fell said the Kansas National Guard remains deployed to Emporia to assist with vaccine clinics.
He said non-congregate housing remains available in the county as well.
County Health Officer Dr. Ladun Oyenuga said the county’s positivity rate was continuing to drop, but public health providers were on the lookout now for variants which have now been confirmed in the county.
The total percentage of people who have been vaccinated in the county is about 23.7%, she said.
“We’ll just keep working on our numbers,” she said.
Commissioner Rollie Martin asked Oyenuga what changes would need to be made in order to encourage more people to get vaccinated.
Oyenuga said it was about addressing the fears of younger people.
“They are more likely to be on social media,” she said. “They have a lot of information coming at them.”
She said local doctors could also help by talking with their patients about vaccines and potential side effects to help allay fears.
In other business, a proposed resolution to endorse the Convention of States failed to gain support by commissioners.
The commission was approached on March 25 by Emporia resident Dennis Moseby, who spoke in favor of the movement to push state legislatures to vote in favor of a convention.
Martin said he did agree with “some” of the ideas presented in the resolution but he had not heard from constituents regarding any interest in having commissioners sign an endorsement.
Commissioner Doug Peck also agreed there were some good points and issues that needed to be changed.
Commissioner Scott Briggs said he felt this was an issue best left to state legislature.
“I consider this their decision if they want to join this,” he said. “Personally, at this level, I don’t think we have a dog in this fight.”
County Attorney Marc Goodman said the commission was being asked to endorse it as a political agenda and he was personally “strongly opposed” to term limits.
Overall, he agreed with Briggs’ assessment.
“To move this forward, they have to have the legislature endorse it,” he said.
A resolution that received a more favorable response was a proclamation to declare the week of April 11 - 17 as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. The week is dedicated in honor of “the men and women whose diligence and professionalism keep our county and citizens safe.”