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County allocates over $1.5 million of CARES funding

Cape Girardeau County has already allocated where around $1.5 to $1.6 million of its federal CARES Act funds will go, according to County Commissioner Paul Koeper at a County Commission meeting on July 6.

Missouri received $2.38 billion of federal funding, with $9,253,142 allocated for Cape Girardeau County. County Auditor Pete Frazier said Monday morning that none of the county funds had yet been spent, although the County had already approved several purchases using these funds.

The County approved an application for county agencies to apply for CARES Act funding on June 1. After an application has been approved, the County will reimburse approved purchases.

The federal funds must be used for necessary expenditures that were incurred due to the COVID-19 public health. The expenditures could not have been already budgeted and must be incurred between March 1 and Dec. 30, 2020.

$252,000 was allocated for the antibody testing by the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center, and an additional $200,000 was allocated for area fire departments to receive Stryker LUCAS chest compression units.

The LUCAS chest compression units will help fire departments have less physical contact with individuals who experience sudden cardiac arrests. The units, which fit around the person’s chest and provides mechanical CPR, has also been proven to increase the survival rate of patients, compared to manual CPR.

Although the Cape Girardeau Fire Department coordinated the application and purchase, the 12 LUCAS units have been split up between Cape, Jackson and rural fire districts in the county.

The County approved applications from the Jackson R-2 School District (totaling $50,200), Immaculate Conception ($6,300), the Riverside Regional Library ($2,100) and Notre Dame Regional High School ($1,633) during the July 6 meeting. Each of these approved expenses occurred between March 27 and June 30, and will be reimbursed.

Additional applications were approved for purchases that have not yet been made. Many of these are from schools and cover COVID-related expenses for the upcoming school year including Immaculate Conception ($90,738), Notre Dame ($100,089), Delta R-5 Schools ($101,025), Lynwood Christian Academy ($99,110), St. Mary Cathedral ($20,638), Prodigy Leadership Academy ($59,859) and St. Vincent De Paul ($54,494).

The county also approved spending up to $100,000 on personal protective equipment (PPE) – including masks, gloves and goggles. Cape Girardeau County Emergency Management Director Mark Winkler said he will start receiving PPE this week, and his department will disperse the equipment to county departments, local schools and rural fire departments.

Koeper said the County also is expecting to spend an additional $200,000 of CARES Act funding for supplies for county EMS workers and the county jail. The County has also approved purchasing protective health shields for the county recorder’s office and a disinfectant fogger/mist sprayer to help clean county playgrounds and park pavilions.
 
Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy said there will be two more additional funding windows, with applications due at the end of September and December. The county still has more than $7 million in CARES Act funding which has not yet been allocated.

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past four years. He can be reached at cbjedit@socket.net.

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