ANNA — As trees bloom and warmer temperatures infiltrate the forecast, people who would normally be gathering on the bleachers to support their local spring sports teams are forced to remain in social isolation. These quarantine measures have been taken to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus disease.
The first COVID-19 case in Shelby County was reported by the Sidney-Shelby County Health Dept. on March 25, and the total number of cases have risen since then. In one way or another, people of all ages and situations have been affected by the disease.
Ian Bollheimer, a senior at Anna High School, was preparing for his final high school track and field season when the virus caused officials to send students home to continue school work from behind a screen.
Bollheimer understands these measures are being taken to slow the virus’ spread and save lives, but was upset at first to have gotten a taste of track season from practices and then have it taken away. The empty track this Spring is not the only disappointing part of his senior year, however.
“The experience I think I will miss the most is just my last days of being a high school kid,” Bollheimer said. “Just being able to go to school, walk the halls to each class and socialize with my classmates is something I miss a lot.”
On the bright side, Bollheimer said the quarantine has taught him to manage his time efficiently between family, school work and training for a potential track season if students are to return to school May 1st.
Though most students cannot attend school, many people must still go to work. Amy Berning, the Shelby County Auditor, is one of those people.
Her place of work, the Shelby County Annex building, remains open to the public. This means extra precautions are being taken amongst workers in the building to lessen the threat of the Coronavirus.
Even though normally this time of year brings your typical spring clean for many, places like the Shelby County Annex Building are exceeding just that.
Reduced hours to limit exposure to people have been established and a deputy stands at the front doors to take individuals’ temperatures upon entering the building for good measure. Like most workplaces currently, a full staff is not necessary, but just enough people to provide the essential services. The ones who are present though, are constantly disinfecting surfaces, doing what they can to protect themselves and others from the virus.
The fear provoked by the coronavirus causing business shutdowns and people being primarily confined to their homes means less spending. About a third of the revenue received by the county is sales tax, which is projected to decrease. Most of the other revenue sources are expected to come up short as well for awhile.
With the economy down-spiraling, the commissioners have made the decision to cut county workers’ wages by 10%. Berning understands this decision, but she cannot help but feel conflicted about pay cuts to the employees.
“People have a lot to deal with right now. Some have a spouse who has been laid off, some have young kids at home, some may be having Coronavirus symptoms,” Berning said. “I would like to see the county take all possible measures to balance the budget while keeping employees wages as whole as possible.”
With all of the difficult decisions being made, she believes we will not know until this pandemic passes if every decision was for the best.
“I think it’s such unchartered waters, that everybody, from the governor on down, just seems like they don’t know how conservative to be. They’re really concerned about how long this is going to stretch on,” Berning said.
One thing is for sure though, that the majority of people hope summer brings more than just warmer temperatures and that the quarantine can be safely lifted as soon as possible.