Supervisors talk about keeping offices clean
The board of supervisors and Marshall County employees are taking necessary steps to keep offices clean as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
District 4 supervisor George Zinn III, in a recent board meeting, expressed concern for decontamination of offices to prevent virus outbreaks in offices.
He suggested the county should adopt a policy to sanitize offices twice daily, mid-day and after closing time.
The only office being sanitized was justice court, he said, which was being fogged in the evenings.
District 3 supervisor Keith Taylor said some of the staff in some of the offices, such as the zoning department, are sanitizing behind people as they leave.
The county administrator has a fogging machine, Zinn said. He thought the offices should be fogged first, then surfaces wiped down. The fog machine was more effective than spray from an aerosol can, he said.
“It would be a small price to pay, I do believe,” Zinn said.
Main offices where people are in and out all day should be sanitized, he said.
District 1 supervisor Charles Terry didn’t like the fogging approach, saying paperwork would have to be moved off surfaces first. And he wondered if the fogger leaves a residue.
“Twice a day would be a lot,” he said.
Circuit clerk Monet Autry said her office was fogged, and afterwards she didn’t have to wipe down surfaces.
She worried about those employees who clean moving from building to building and the possibility of transferring the virus from one building to another.
“We are trying to keep it as clean as possible between people coming in and out,” Autry said.
Taylor said he was told an employee was going to every office after closing hours.
District 5 supervisor Ronnie Joe Bennett argued that it would take three hours to sanitize a single office if surfaces are being wiped down.
“You are talking about a lot of time,” he said.
Following that discussion, the board approved a motion to get an employee to fog all county offices once a day.
A call to some offices last week netted these results.
In the chancery clerk’s office, Gwen Gipson said housekeeping sprays Lysol on countertops and the building is fogged once a day.
“We clean it ourselves, too,” she said.
Employees sanitize their own desk tops and materials often, she said.
Rebecca Colhoun, deputy circuit clerk, said her office has its own spray. And housekeeping cleans the offices regularly.
“I think each office is kind of doing their own,” she said. “Roger Garrison comes in with the fogger, but it’s not a daily practice.”
Each office is taking care of its own sanitation, as well, Colhoun said.
“We’re trying our best in here,” she said.
Terica Moss, at the county administrator’s office, said that office is fogged once a week. Touch points are wiped down throughout the day, and they also wipe down their own desks. The office is locked but when necessary the door is opened to pass through papers such as applications, Moss said.
If people they are expecting come by, they are let in to discuss matters with the county administrator.
Tax collector Betty Byrd, whose office has been hit the worst so far by COVID, said employees have been doing all they can to keep it at bay.
The door to the tax office has been closed, with signs on the door, and only two customers are allowed in at a time. And plastic shields are installed in front of the clerks’ windows.
Garrison has been in twice with the fogger, once Thursday, July 30, and again Monday, August 3.
Housekeeping comes in daily and does what can be done.
“We’re doing what we can with wipes and sprays,” she said. “Annie (Davis, with housekeeping) has been here daily. And we spray between customers and wipe surfaces with Clorox wipes. I don’t know how we could have done it any better.”
Byrd said her COVID-19 test came back negative Wednesday, Aug. 5, and none of the three clerks at the Byhalia substation have tested positive.
The tax office has several ways to pay without coming inside. People can mail in their tax payment, or they can drop their payment in the dropbox on the side of the building. And people can go online and make their tax payment.
At the sheriff’s office, Yolanda Jones said employees are trying to wear masks.
“And we have Lysol,” she said. “The trusties come by every hour or two and spray Lysol. We have this germicide as well.”
“We’re trying to keep everything wiped down the best we can.” Two deputies have tested positive for COVID, she said. But no cases of COVID have shown up at the jail, so far.
Sheriff Kenny Dickerson said his department has been very fortunate, especially back in the jail, to have no COVID cases.
Other business Gary Anderson, consultant to the board of supervisors, reported the Legislature has decided not to go back into session until October 5 due to the COVID-19 virus (a special meeting was held Monday in Jackson to deal with the education budget). The virus has infected a large number of people in the state capitol. There are still a few members in the hospital from the virus, he said. One from Greenville and one from Columbus are having a rough time with the virus, he said at the August 3 board of supervisors meeting. One legislator, who was sent to the hospital in Tupelo lost 50 pounds but did not lose his life, Anderson said. Remdesivir, a new experimental antiviral drug being used to treat COVID-19, was credited with the legislator’s recovery, he said. On another topic, Anderson, who spearheaded a study to decide how the county could develop a housing strategy, said a specific goal for the number of new houses wanted should be set. Zoning director Ken Jones reported to the board that housing starts are up this year to 112, while last year only 100 new houses were built. “Our market has come back,” he said. He added that construction costs are up with lumber prices having doubled recently, mostly due to the COVID pandemic that is slowing production of building materials in some sectors.