Rockingham County spending of $14M in CARES Act funding

Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 11:38 PM EST
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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of federal dollars were given to Rockingham County for coronavirus recourses and unprecedented expenses.

Over $14 million in Rockingham County has benefited people, businesses, and schools to the point where Finance Director Trish Davidson said she does not know what the county would have done without it.

Davidson said $2 million went to Rockingham County Public Schools, over $1 million went to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and another $250,000 to COVID-19 testing sites.

“It allowed us to enhance some of our [testing] sites that were available, so at one site we enhanced some of the bathrooms there so that the restrooms could be readily available for the workers and nurses,” Davidson said.

She said there were also supplies needed for sites, like tents, that can later be used once a COVID-19 vaccine is available.

“We needed some way to have temporary shelters in place so that we could go anywhere in the county that we needed to go to have those testing sites to reach citizens,” Davidson said.

Other decontamination equipment, which Davidson said is rather large, needed to be stored, so the county built a storage facility, which totaled over $600,000.

Another chunk of funding went to Rockingham County Fire and Rescue to make cleaning easier and safer for staff.

“Anytime we would have a possible COVID call in any of our ambulances, that ambulance had to be taken out of service for at least an hour for it to be manually decontaminated by Fire and Rescue staff, so we were paying staff overtime and ambulances were out of service for a longer period of time.”

The county was able to get their hands on two ambulances that automatically decontaminate themselves totaling about $600,000.

$500,000 was distributed in small business grants and $234,000 for non-profits benefitting people in the county.

A few thousand have been used to house individuals at hotels who tested positive for COVID-19 and did not have a safe place to sleep.

Another million dollars went to salaries for public health employees.

“Employees who are substantially deviated or diverted to answering the COVID-19 crisis, we considered that to be our fire and rescue folks, and our sheriff and jail departments,” Davidson said.

She said another $500,000 went to safety measures in county facilities and making sure employees could work from home.

“Increasing our virtual private network, maybe buying a few more laptops so that our social services folks could continue to work from home and make sure those services were provided to families in need,” Davidson said.

Another large sum of $1.65 million was divided among towns in Rockingham County for PPE purchases.

Davidson said there are still millions of dollars the county has left to spend before Dec. 31.

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