The Dent County Health Board of Trustees met Dec. 18.

Reported COVID-19 cases remain steady in Dent County, according to center administrator Kendra Mobray. However, the seven-day positivity rate had decreased compared to previous weeks, down to 15%. Dent County is currently considered in the critical risk category based on the Statewide Public Health Advisory. Case numbers are being updated on the Dent County Health Facebook page every Monday and Thursday.

Pfizer’s vaccine has been distributed to several areas in Missouri. The Health Center has submitted necessary forms and is awaiting approval through the Department of Health and Senior Services to be a COVID-19 vaccinator. Mobray said that they are hopeful that vaccine for the general public will be released in early spring, but no date has been set at this time. The Dent County Health Center plans to work closely with Salem Memorial District Hospital to develop a plan for dispensing once public vaccine is available.

Mobray also said that flu shots are still available by appointment. Free flu shots are available for uninsured adults and children, as well as high-dose flu shots for seniors, and quadrivalent flu shots for anyone over six months of age.

Also at the meeting, the board unanimously passed:

• a motion to provide staff incentive prizes for a total of $100 at the staff Christmas party.

• two motions to close the Dent County Health Center Dec. 24 at noon and reopen Dec. 28 at 8:00 a.m. and to close Dec. 31 at noon and reopen Jan. 4

• a motion to approve both manuals as written, with a change to the employee benefits section allowing employees that work 24 hours per week or more to be eligible for dental and vision insurance. The employee will be responsible for 100% of the premium.

• a motion to authorize Mobray to fill staff positions as necessary to avoid delays in waiting for board approval.

Mobray also reported that filings for one board seat that will be expiring in April 2021 began on Dec. 15 and will continue through Jan. 19. Those persons interested in filling this board seat must file in person at the County Clerk’s office at Dent County Court House during regular office hours.

The board discussed the staffing demands since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The next regular board meeting date was set for 5 p.m. Jan. 21.