A group of concerned citizens has formed a committee to provide awareness to the community about the importance of wearing a mask in public during the COVID-19 Pandemic, according to Kayla Stewart, a spokesman. And they are starting a campaign to purchase masks for students and staff at the Bourbon County school districts.
The name of the group is Bourbon County Strong. It is comprised of Stewart, Gina Shelton, Stephanie Witt, Kelley Barrows, Jody Hoener, Lindsey Madison, Jackie Hall, and several others from USD 234 and USD 235, she said.
“Many people do not believe in the virus or do not think that it will affect anyone in their area, so they have decided not to wear masks,” Stewart, Ascension Via Christ’s Emergency Department RN Coordinator, said. “If the community members do not wear masks, then children will follow in their footsteps. The campaign will provide awareness to all community members about the importance of wearing their masks in public, social distance, and have good hand hygiene.”
Bourbon County Strong is beginning to raise funds to provide masks to the school systems in Bourbon County.
The group’s goal is to raise enough money to provide all students and staff members of the Fort Scott and Uniontown School Districts with enough masks that will last them until the end of the school year, she said.
“We live in a community where we have a high poverty level, and many families can’t afford to provide their children with masks,” Stewart said.
“We want to give students masks that fit appropriately and provide the best protection possible,” Stewart said.
Experts are still learning about the virus.
“Many people are not worried about their children getting COVID, but they need to be concerned about who they bring the virus home to,” Stewart said. “The statistics currently show that the virus is not as severe on younger children, but children are carriers of viruses and bring it home to your loved ones. These older loved ones have comorbidities or have weakened immune systems due to cancer or an autoimmune disease, and they are more likely to get the virus.”
“Being an emergency room nurse, I have taken care of the critically ill, and this virus is nothing to mess with,” Stewart said. ” We are still learning about what the virus is, what damage it is causing to our bodies, and what the long term effects will be.”
Stewart shared two personal stories of the virus.
“I have a close friend that had the virus a couple of months ago and is still recovering. They have long-term shortness of breath, where any activity that they do causes them to become short of air. This issue did not occur before they obtained the virus,” she said.
“Also, my uncle has the coronavirus,” Stewart said. “He has been on the vent for over four weeks. Last week, they put a trach in because of the endotracheal tube’s long-term use. They have tried to wean him off the vent, but every time they try to wean him, his blood pressure tanks, and he becomes unstable. It is hard seeing someone you love suffer from the virus, and people in the community don’t think it is real.”
The group has a desire to positively impact the community and help prevent the spreading of COVID through education and providing reliable sources about the coronavirus, she said.
When was the group started?
The beginning of August.
“We discussed the idea with (USD 234 Superintendent)Ted Hessong and (USD 235 Superintendent)Bret Howard,” she said.
Once approved, the idea went to the school boards, and got final approval.
“Once the campaign was approved, we started designing our plans.,” Steward said. “It has taken a lot of hard work from all committee members, plus USD 234 and USD 235 staff. We will be kicking the campaign off on Sept. 8, 2020 with our t-shirt sale, that will run through September 30th. Throughout September and October, businesses around town will have our posters, flyers, and table toppers posted about the campaign. These flyers will not only provide information about the campaign, but will also have information about mask-wearing.”
A Bourbon County Strong Golf Tournament on
October 10th, to register: bourboncountystrong.com
Operation Mask Up T-Shirt Sale starts September 8th-September 30th.
T-shirts can be purchased at bourboncountystrong.com
Donations can be made at bourboncountystrong.com or
Other ways to keep abreast of the group:
Facebook page: Bourbon County Strong (@bourboncountystrong)
The last update that was provided by SEK Multi-County Health Department: 11 active COVID cases, 14 presumptive cases, and 97 current recovered cases in Bourbon County.
Crawford County Health Department’s last update: last week there are a total of 599 positive COVID cases. Two hundred sixty-five individuals that are in isolation, and 970 individuals that are quarantined, Stewart said.