JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- With chairs spaced six feet apart and masks required for entry into Thursday night's Jefferson County Department of Health Board of Trustee meeting, division continues over masks.
But despite a crowd outside with signs reading "no mask mandate," the Jefferson County Director of Health insists she will not try to impose any mandates.
"The first thing out of my mouth to them was I am not going to ask my board for a mask mandate. What we want to do is we want to find ways to bridge the division in our community and look for some local solutions, for our local community. In order to do that we're going to need everyone's hands on deck," said Kelley Vollmar, the director of health for Jefferson County.
As of Thursday, the positivity rate in Jefferson County was at 16%. According to the county's data, cases have increased by 15.3% since October 1.
Thursday's meeting was to alert the public about a discussion held by the board and community stakeholders last week, which included government leaders, school leaders, police and leaders of faith institutions in the county.
Vollmar said they discussed the impacts of COVID-19 on the mental health and wellbeing of the community.
Vollmar told the meeting crowd the concern is for rising numbers as the holidays approach. She said the county saw their largest increase in case numbers following the Labor Day holiday and they hope through the cooperation of the community, they can prevent that from happening again. But insists, no number of cases would have her ask for a mandate.
"I think because we've had such division over the mask issue, I don't think that mandating anything is going to make a difference," said Vollmar.
St. Louis City and County's mask mandate went into effect on July 3. The county's positivity rate sits at 5% and the city's at 5.3%. The low positivity rate for the city and county is contributed to public health regulations and an increase in testing.
Click here to watch Thursday's meeting.