NEW MADRID COUNTY, Mo. (KFVS) - The New Madrid County Health Department held a meeting on Thursday morning, December 3 to discuss if a countywide mask mandate should be put in place.
Leaders from across the county and residents expressed their thoughts about whether a face mask mandate should be legally required and how a mandate would be enforced.
“This is a first step to actually reach out and say we’re the health department, we do care, what do you all want,” Health Dept. Administrator, Jayne Dees said.
City council member Nick White said he thinks each person should decide whether or not they wear a mask.
“The people that are gonna wear a mask are gonna wear a mask and telling someone that they have to wear a mask is only gonna I feel like.. inflame the situation more than what it already is,” he said.
After testing positive for COVID-19, he said he has a different outlook on masks, but still doesn’t think enforcing them is the answer.
“Let’s just recommend it, encourage and educate the public on it so hopefully that will change people’s minds,” White said.
Terri Adams, a board member for the health department, said she thinks a mask mandate should be put in place.
“You may not think that you’re doing that much but just putting a mask on is protecting the other person and I feel that that’s very important,” Adams said.
The goal of the meeting was to gather input, for or against, not to come to final decision.
Dees said the next step is to encourage businesses to require masks if they want to to see if that makes a difference in the positivity rate.
COVID-19 statistics on cases in New Madrid County, what other communities are doing to curb the spread of the virus and how local schools are operating were just a few of the conversations.
Currently, New Madrid County has the highest total positivity rate in Missouri.