Our View: Effingham County Board did the right thing


We thank Effingham County Board Chairman Jim Niemann for withdrawing the proposed “Medical Freedom Resolution” from consideration this week.

We thought the resolution dangerous because it seemed to give cover to anyone who doesn’t want to wear a mask or get vaccinated against COVID-19. You’ll never change some people’s minds about that, but we felt the county board should encourage responsible behavior.

“The feedback to me has been overwhelmingly negative,” Niemann said. “… I’m not going to divide us any further. If we work against each other, there is absolutely nothing that will get done except fighting. And if we work together, there is absolutely nothing we can’t do.”

That bit about working together is certainly true.

The resolution was withdrawn before residents spoke. We also appreciate that the board nevertheless allowed those who attended to have their say.

“I wonder how many people from our community we must lose before people take this seriously,” said Judy Bergfeld, a nurse for 39 years before the pandemic drew her out of retirement to work with the county health department. “That’s why I believe it your responsibility to look out for our community. You need to be leaders and embrace masks and get us through this mess. Please, step up and be the leaders you were elected to be.”

The board took a step toward that this week. We’d like to see them and other local leaders encourage what the local health department does with every press release about additional deaths and new cases: vaccinate, distance socially, use masks, practice hand hygiene, socialize outdoors or in well-ventilated locations, avoid crowds, isolate and quarantine when required.

COVID vaccine appointments can be booked at effcohealth.org.

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September 15, 2021 at 09:31AM

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