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June a busy month for new shared emergency manager

MARSHALL — When Amber Scholten became the joint emergency manager for Lincoln and Lyon counties, there was plenty to do right off the bat.

“I got to jump right in with the Marshall community (COVID-19) testing,” Scholten told Lyon County commissioners on Tuesday. She updated the county board on emergency management activities and COVID-19 response in her first month at work for both counties.

Lyon County commissioners approved an agreement in June to have a shared emergency manager with Lincoln County. Scholten, the Lincoln County emergency manager, would split her time between the two counties, and Lyon County would compensate Lincoln County for hours worked and mileage.

Scholten said some of her first work for Lyon County included helping to put on the community testing event with Avera Marshall and area volunteers. Scholten said emergency management helped provide trailers, food and water for volunteers at the sample collection site, and cloth masks for people being tested.

Scholten said members of the area joint incident command for COVID-19 response continue to meet weekly. Some of the next big tasks facing the J.I.C. include preparing for schools to go back to class this fall, she said. Scholten said Lauren Mellenthin, the emergency preparedness coordinator for Southwest Health and Human Services has been “a great help” in educating area schools.

Scholten talked about the spike in COVID-19 cases in Lincoln County earlier this month. A lot of the people affected by the rise in cases have been teenagers, who thought they were at a lower risk of getting COVID-19, she said.

“Even with 20- to 30-year-olds, there’s some rising numbers there,” Scholten said. It will be important to continue to get word out to the public about the need to quarantine if you have been exposed to COVID-19, she said.

Not all of Scholten’s duties for Lyon County have been COVID-related, however. She told commissioners she is also working to include Lyon County in regional emergency operations plans, and is part of the planning process for some possible emergency training exercises later this fall.

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