Boone County Commissioners consider virtual program to share key COVID information


The Boone County Commissioners said they would consider a targeted virtual program to distribute information about the county’s efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Initial ideas for the proposed program include recording interviews with county officials, such as the county’s three commissioners, Boone County Health Dept. officials and possibly Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen and sharing them on social media platforms. Boone County Commissioner Jeff Wolfe said the commissioners would share more information on the proposed program during commissioners meetings in early January.

“It would be a 10-15 minute video that we could put out on social media helping people understand where we are with COVID and other issues facing the county,” Wolfe said during the commissioner’s Dec. 28 meeting. “This proposal is for each one of these interviews costing about $350. We are hoping to receive the grant for education that we think will be a good fit for this type of program, and we think we should do this every three to four weeks.”

Wolfe said the county wants to create a personalized message for residents “with faces to put with names.”

The commissioners approved the initial $350 payment for the program, which they said would be paid for with county CARES Act funds.

“We’re already doing a lot, but we want to up the communications,” Boone County Commissioner Tom Santelli said during the meeting.

Approval for the program’s first payment was gratned the same day residents and staff of long-term care facilities in the county began receiving COVID-19 vaccinations from local pharmacies.

Starting Jan. 11, the BCHD will be tasked with immunizing residents in Phase 1b of the county’s vaccination plan. Residents who will receive vaccines during this phase, according to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include people 75 and older and front-line essential workers who were not vaccinated in Phase 1a.

BCHD Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Tom Ryan said the BCHD will distribute vaccinations during Phase 1b from Tuesday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. But he said the department’s hours would be determined by the amount of vaccine the county receives.

“Chances are, at the beginning we won’t be able to run all these hours,” Ryan said. “We’re probably looking at February or March before we are going to have enough vaccine to fill all those hours.”