It was disheartening to learn this week that at several area long-term-care centers, about half or fewer of the staffers have agreed to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

That includes the Dubuque County-run Sunnycrest Manor, where just 46% of workers took the vaccine when given the opportunity, despite the cajoling of the facility’s interim administrator.

Education, discussion and encouragement are about the only tools at the disposal of care center officials when it comes to convincing workers to get vaccinated. Employees at these facilities play a vital role in the health care system in jobs that aren’t easy to fill.

Sunnycrest isn’t alone — Luther Manor Communities in Dubuque County and Bell Tower Retirement assisted-living facility in East Dubuque, Ill., faced a similar lukewarm response from staffers.

The same scenario is playing out in some nursing homes across the country. Employees at those sites generally have expressed concern about the rapid development of the vaccine, even though experts say those fears are unfounded.

The position is a stark contrast to the feelings of the patients for which these employees care and the loved ones of those patients, most of whom are eager for the vaccine and a potential reuniting with family. At Sunnycrest, 90 of the 91 residents were signed up for the vaccine.

With a death toll at more than 350,000, the top medical experts in the country are leading the effort to get at least 70% to 85% of the U.S. population vaccinated to achieve “herd immunity.” Here’s hoping those who work in our nation’s care facilities eventually will understand the importance of their decision and get vaccinated.

Those who work in these facilities care deeply for their patients. Getting a vaccine will benefit their patients and the greater good.

It’s a telling reality that Resources Unite already has distributed the usual annual budget for Dubuque County general assistance, just half-way into the fiscal year. The $128,000 allocated by the county to help provide rent, utilities and burial financial assistance has been exhausted with six months left.

What’s more, Resources Unite Executive Director Josh Jasper said the agency has seen 30% more applications in the past six months than in all of the last fiscal year.

County supervisors are asked to put more money toward general assistance to serve county residents through the rest of the fiscal year. Supervisors need to approve the funding.

Yes, the county must be judicious in its spending. Yes, Resources Unite must show a detailed accounting of how taxpayer dollars are spent. But if public money is ever called for to help out our fellow citizens, this is the year.

In a year when so many local businesses have struggled to remain successful, it’s compelling to hear about business stepping up to give back to a community in need.

That kind of story played out recently in Elkader, Iowa, when two companies paired up to repair a broken gate on the Turkey River dam.

Sister companies Mobile Track Solutions and C.J. Moyna & Sons, both owned by Elkader resident John P. Moyna, collaborated to complete the repairs.

Anyone who has been to Elkader knows the double-arched stone bridge is a landmark in the Clayton County community. Only the floodgates on the dam have not worked for decades, and the city hasn’t been able to pay for the expensive repair.

Enter the in-house engineering team at Mobile Track Solutions who designed and manufactured a replacement gate using reinforced steel. C.J. Moyna & Sons installed it over two days in December.

It’s not often that businesses can provide a gift that helps an entire community, but this effort in Elkader did just that. A salute to Mobile Track Solutions and C.J. Moyna & Sons for a dam well done.

Editorials reflect the consensus of the Telegraph Herald Editorial Board.

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