County 'working tirelessly' on COVID-19


OREGON – Ogle County’s health administrator told the County Board at its Tuesday meeting that the Health Department is “working tirelessly” with people who have tested positive with COVID-19.

Kyle Auman said that the county currently has 61 positive cases (as of April 21). He said four people have been hospitalized and one of those people was released. He said to date, only one person has died.

“We’re hoping to keep it that way,” he said.

The board held a tele meeting on April 21, where board members and the public called into the meeting. The public was also encouraged to email questions before the meeting that could be answered during the public comment section or call in with questions. No one did.

Auman told the board about the “large scale” outbreak at Rochelle Foods, leading the Health Department to order its closure on April 17. He said his department started working with Rochelle Foods weeks before the closure, and that the Health Department asked the business to voluntarily close four times prior to its closure, which it did not.

As of April 17, 24 cases of COVID-19 were linked to the facility. Those included cases in Ogle County, Whiteside County and Winnebago County.

Auman said that the testing of 840 employees was set to begin on April 23. He said there will be a drive through clinic system set up for testing to lower exposure.

In a release, the Health Department said that it tested 608 Rochelle Foods workers on April 23, and the rest were to be tested on April 24.

Auman told the Board that the employees will be paid for the two weeks the plant is expected to be closed.

“Everybody’s working hard to end this end,” County Board Chairman John Finfrock said after Auman’s presentation.

In other business:

The Board approved a retail tax on marijuana. The tax for businesses selling in unincorporated areas of the county will be 3.75 percent. And the tax on businesses selling in a municipality in the county will be 3 percent.