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St. Louis County Council Members Call For $50 Million To Address North County Health Disparities

St. Louis County Council Chair Rita Days introduces the North County Health and Wellness Recovery Plan August 17, 2021.
Chad Davis
St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis County Council Chair Rita Days introduces the North County Health and Wellness Recovery Plan on Tuesday.

Two St. Louis County Council members want to use at least $50 million from the latest federal coronavirus relief funding to help address health disparities in parts of north county that have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The plan calls for the county to address comorbidity issues in north county, create two health, wellness and recovery centers, and encourage residents to get the coronavirus vaccine.

“You care about north county, you want to see us come out of this,” Councilwoman Shalonda Webb said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon announcing the plan. “Support this legislation to dedicate resources to north county to make that difference and to make a true change, a transformational change for north county.”

The announcement follows criticism from other county politicians after Webb and Days didn’t support an indoor mask mandate introduced last week.

Days said that she supports masks but that the county needs to focus on increasing vaccination efforts in communities with low vaccination rates.

“The mask is not the be all and end all to this, it’s vaccinations, we continue to say that,” Council Chair Rita Days said. “All you have to do is turn on the news, and you can see people who are filling up the hospitals are people who have not been vaccinated.”

The County Council recently has debated imposing a county-wide mask mandate following a rise in cases caused by the delta variant. A circuit judge issued a temporary restraining order earlier this month blocking St. Louis County’s indoor mask mandate after the attorney general’s office said the county’s mask order violated a new state law that restricts local leaders from issuing public health orders for businesses, churches and schools.

Judge Ellen Ribaudo extended the restraining order Tuesday, calling on representatives of the county and the state to work together to resolve the matter.

Follow Chad on Twitter: @iamcdavis

Chad is a general assignment reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.