The Harvey County Commission voted to extend a local health order limiting mass gatherings in Harvey County to 10 individuals. The order remains in effect until rescinded, superseded or amended.

The Commission, which serves as the local Board of Health, and in consultation with Public Health Officer Dr. Doyle Detweiler, approved the extension at its Jan. 5 meeting.

The order requires gatherings be limited to 10 individuals where 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained. It does not limit the occupancy allowed in a facility or event if 6 feet of distance can be maintained between groups at all times.

Commissioners cited disease spread, deaths, and continued strains on regional hospital capacity, contact tracing and case investigation in its decision.

"Although the timeline for re-examining this gathering limit is undetermined, there is some reason for optimism. The administering of COVID-19 vaccines, beginning with our health care workers and long-term care facilities, is bringing us closer each day," Detweiler said. "The path ahead remains difficult. COVID-19 is still prevalent. But the vaccines bring some hope."

The Commission previously implemented a gathering limit of 10 at its Nov. 24 meeting.

Local Harvey County data on COVID-19 can be found here.

A local health order remains in effect that requires individuals to wear a face mask over their nose and mouth in any indoor or outdoor public space where 6 feet of social distance cannot be maintained. That order was approved Oct. 19, and also remains in place until rescinded, superseded or amended.

(Updated Jan. 5, 2021)