PPE still a countywide priority

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     PPE (personal protective equipment) seems to be the theme of the week every time Emergency Management Coordinator Brenda Leonard updates the Jones County Supervisors at their weekly meeting.

     “I am still working on PPE for first responders,” Leonard said during the April 21 meeting.

     She received 500 homemade facemasks the week prior, as well as 1,000 KN95 masks from Amazon.

     “That’s all we can get right now,” she said.

     IPI (Iowa Prison Industries) is making hand sanitizer, too. The prison in Fort Dodge is tasked with making PPE medical gowns.

     “I can give those to the hospital and nursing homes,” said Leonard.

     Each year, Leonard applies for an Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG), receiving around $26,000 that can be applied to wages. The State of Iowa has $1.3 million in grant funding to disperse. Leonard explained this extra funding could be used to help replenish the county PPE stock or for Emergency Operations Center upgrades.

     “It is a 50/50 match, so if I spend $10,000, I will receive $5,000 from EMPG,” explained Leonard.

     Aside from PPE, Leonard shared that she receives daily calls from farmers concerned about their livestock.

     “They’re mostly concerned with what to do with their animals that are ready for market,” she explained.

     Several weeks ago, Leonard and Jenna Lovaas, Public Health, secured a CDBG grant (Community Development Block Grant) for $44,000 for food distribution for ill/homebound citizens during the spread of COVID-19. Due to stringent requirements associated with the grant, Leonard said she found another way to use county dollars to still meet those food needs. She can also apply for reimbursements from the state and federal governments through Public Assistance (PA).

     “This would be similar to how we are reimbursed during flooding for any emergency efforts (sandbagging, barricades, etc.),” explained Leonard. “By using PA, it would be less paperwork and we would be able to start immediately.”

     So beginning now, food delivery is now available to anyone living in Jones County who needs food but cannot access it for the following reasons:

     • Increased risk for COVID-19 due to pre-existing conditions

     • 65 years or older

     • Self-isolating due to illness

     • Financial hardships due to COVID-19

     • Transportation barriers

     One or more of these conditions must be met to qualify for the emergency food delivery.

     Residents can call 319-465-6564 between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday to request delivery. Deliveries of pre-packaged bags of food will be made on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

     This is a partnership between Public Health, Emergency Management, Senior Dining, and JETS.

     Lovaas also provided an update on the number of cases. As of April 21, Jones County had 17 confirmed cases and 11 probable cases.

     Because Gov. Kim Reynolds issued additional mitigation measures for Region 10, which includes Jones County, Lovaas said those restrictions weren’t exactly clear.

     She said Public Health had received calls about local businesses potentially not following the recommended Public Health rules. Lovaas said those are particularly large businesses.

     “I have Britt Smith (Monticello police chief) helping to follow up on those,” she said.

     County Auditor Janine Sulzner informed the board that should a county employee test positive for COVID-19, the county needs to have a plan in place to address the situation. Particularly, she said, in terms of sanitizing county facilities.

     “We’re working through what the plan might look like and how extensive that has to get,” she said.

     The board held a brief special meeting on April 22 to rescind action they took on April 10 related to employee supplemental pay.

     The provision provided for two-thirds supplemental pay for full-time and part-time county employees who work less than their normal schedule due to modification of their work schedule (lack of work).

     The board chose to rescind this provision due to the finances employees are getting from Iowa Workforce Development (unemployment) and through the CARES Act (an additional $600 a week).

     Sulzner said this action is to also further benefit the property taxpayers of Jones County.

     The board’s move to rescind their previous approval is retroactive to April 13.

     At this point, this action only affects Senior Dining and JETS employees.


Subscriber Login