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Texas County COVID-19 meeting

                                                                                                                      Photo submitted
Bill Karatzas, acting Texas County EMD, speaks to a diverse group 
representing 24 different agencies affected by COVID-19 in Texas County.
Texas County Commissioners and representatives of multiple local agencies, including firefighters, law enforcement, the Health Department and city managers met on June 18 to discuss disbursement of the three million dollars in CARES Act funds that have been received by the county.
The meeting was opened by Scott Long, Presiding Commissioner, who opened up discussion on how to best use the funds to help Texas County. Vasili (Bill) Karatzas, acting Texas County EMD, has been working with local agencies to discuss their needs. Karatzas advised that needs will be prioritized, not met on a first come, first serve basis. Jackie Smith, Texas County Health Department administration, informed that the health department continues to monitor both local and international cases, and is also following local health departments in counties that have experienced more cases than Texas County. The Health Department is conducting contact tracing, with which they have previous experience, as it has always been done with tuberculosis cases. The elderly and those with impaired immune systems are at greatest risk of contracting COVID-19 with 90 percent of the cases occurring over the age of 60. (To date, Texas County has seen no cases in our nursing home population.) Dexamethasone is showing good promise in the more severe cases.
Community wide testing has not yet been conducted in Texas County (with the exception of South Central Correctional Facility). Testing continues to be prioritized, and Texas County is not at the top of the list as there has only been one confirmed case in our county. Smith stated that testing is not 100 percent accurate and needs improvement.
Cody Dalton with SCOCOG advised of the parameters of reimbursement monies. Funding cannot be used to replace lost revenue, but is meant to provide for new purchase to prevent outbreaks in the future or to reimburse for measures already used to combat the COVID-19 virus.
The funding period covers March 1, 2020 – Dec. 30, 2020. The application period will be ongoing, and CARES Act reimbursement applications are available from the Texas County Clerk. Copies of the application are also available at The Licking News office. County departments and public entities may be eligible for the funding.

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