Missouri health official steps down after her family threatened over coronavirus measures

Coronavirus

ST. FRANCOIS COUNTY, Mo. (KTVI) A Missouri county health director has left her job because of threats she says she received over measures put in place to curb the coronavirus pandemic, including a mask mandate.

“I have received emails, you know, with someone claiming that a group of people in the community are watching me and following me, and if I make decisions that they don’t like that there will be retaliation,” said Amber Elliott, who had been the St. Francois County health director since January.

Elliott said though the threats she received were “mostly implied,” she was concerned for her children.

“My family were photographed in public which included my daughter. I think it raises safety concerns, especially for my kids. I can take a lot of scrutiny, I think it’s expected as a public figure, but it has bled onto my family,” said Elliott, who stepped down last week.

A mandatory mask mandate was approved by the health department in September despite stiff resistance, then it was rescinded a month later because of pushback from residents.

Elliott said fewer people wore masks after the mandate went into effect — a 6% decrease. She added that the virus positivity rate in St. Francois County has hit 25%.

“Unfortunately, we see this with other diseases,” she said. “It’s not real for you until it’s real for you.”

She added, “This time is the time to be working together, not seeking to tear apart.”

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