Jackson County Commissioners voted Tuesday to reopen Turners Landing immediately and to eliminate all crowd restrictions when Blue Springs Recreational Area reopens this weekend. Turners Landing closed a few weeks and the seasonal opening of Blue Springs was delayed a week over concerns that it would be difficult to monitor and maintain the social distancing made necessary by COVID-19.
As the state modified its guidelines over time, there had been talk of opening Blue Springs to 25-percent capacity, and then at 50-percent capacity. But Jackson County Public Works Director Rett Daniels said he now recommended a full opening based on the latest guidance he’d received from the governor’s office.
The reopening of those recreational spots comes as Jackson County’s COVID-19 total had, as of Tuesday afternoon, reached 239. Jackson County Health Department leader Sandy Martin had presented that total to the board at their regular session Tuesday evening. She said, however, that the number does not reflect how many have since recovered. The number does not decrease once positive cases are considered resolved. Martin noted also that she does not have an official definition or description of what “recovered” means. Martin also pointed out that of the 239 positive individuals, only 39 are at-large citizens of the county. She said 149 are prisoners and that 51 are people in long-term care facilities. In her update to the board, Martin said that the number of positive cases represents 7.1 percent of the population, compared to the state’s overall 5.7 percent of population. In all, 3,364 individuals have been tested in Jackson County.
The local health department, for a brief period, had tested asymptomatic people without charge at headquarters and at some community churches. Those test have since been suspended. A total of 529 such individuals were tested at those site, and of those 15 positives were found. Two of those work at Apalachee Correctional Institution, where the vast majority of prison-related positive cases have turned up, and six work at long-term care facilities. Seven are people who are known or believed to have had contact with a positive individual.
Martin also said that 12 people had been hospitalized for treatment of the illness, but that currently only six are still under care in a facility.