WAVERLY- With the federal paid sick leave entitlement expiring on Thursday, Sept. 30, the Pike County Commissioners moved to extend its COVID-19 sick leave for county workers through the end of October.

The decision made during the board’s most recent meeting comes as case numbers reached record-highs in the county last month. The hope Commissioner Jerry Miller has is numbers will go down, but he still felt this action was necessary at the moment.

“I am not in favor of making the decision today that extends this through December,” he said. “I am in favor of making a decision that extends it.”

September saw Pike County either lead or be among the state leaders in new cases according to reports from the Ohio Department of Health. The ODH’s most recent data places the county as the seventh-highest in Ohio with a case rate of 1,148.6 per 100,000 residents.

Vaccination rates, on the other hand, have remained low in the county over the past month, which Commissioner Jeff Chattin feels some have avoided simply for paid time off from work.

“The bottom line is that you’re not really rewarding a person financially,” he said, 36.7% of the county considered fully vaccinated as of Thursday by ODH. “You are better off to wait and to say ‘Hey, I was with my brother and he’s got COVID, so I need two weeks off free.’”

The amount of COVID-19 paid leave — two weeks or 80 hours — is available to county workers for all of October. The commissioners plan on revisiting the leave topic towards the end of the month.

Contact Patrick Keck at pkeck@newswatchman.com or by phone at 740-947-2149, ext. 300431 and follow him on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

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