Last updateWed, 29 Apr 2020 8pm

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Federal grant to reimburse agencies for COVID-19 expenses

Owensboro Fire Chief James Howard smallThe city of Owensboro and Daviess County are eligible to receive federal funds to assist law enforcement and emergency responders recover money spent responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city and county were among 19 government agencies in Kentucky eligible to receive funding through the U.S. Department of Justice’s Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program.

The grants can be used to reimburse agencies for protective equipment and overtime costs. The city and county must apply to receive the funds, although they have already been selected.

The city has $65,828 earmarked for agencies while Daviess County will receive $58,008.

Major David Powell, head of the support services division at the Owensboro Police Department, said “we were super proactive out of the gate at the beginning of the pandemic, and we ordered a whole lot of PPE so one thing we are focused on is reimbursement for the PPE we ordered.

“We are looking at stocking up on more PPE, N95 masks where we can find them, and hand sanitizer,” Powell said, “because our guys don’t have the option of washing their hands after every interaction” with the public.

The department also intends to purchase thermometers to be used for precautions such as taking the temperature of people coming to the department for interviews, Powell said.

“If there was the slightest risk they had a temperature, we would conduct that interview elsewhere,” Powell said. The department could also use the funds to purchase supplies to routinely clean patrol vehicles.

While the department is cleaning patrol vehicles now, the supplies would “ensure for our officers, and everyone we transport, a safe environment,” Powell said.

City Fire Chief James Howard said the department has a number of items they are looking to purchase, including additional personal protective equipment, gowns and face shields, and special CPR bag valve masks that will reduce the risk of the virus being transmitted.

“Any kind of breathing treatment where someone is breathing in the air is dangerous to anyone around them,” Howard said.

“Obviously, if someone is in need of an intervention (like CPR), we are going to do whatever we can,” Howard said.

The agency is also looking at purchasing foggers that can be used to disinfect the fire stations.

The department would also like to purchase infrared thermometers. Items like the foggers would get regular use as part of the department’s cleaning procedures, Howard said.

Major Barry Smith, chief deputy for the Daviess County Sheriff’s Department, said the sheriff’s office and county detention center will each get a share of the county’s reimbursement grant.

“That funding is retroactive,” and extends to expenses departments incurred beginning in February, Smith said.

The grant will cover overtime expenses related to the pandemic, he said.

“This week, we are working out at the testing site at the community college,” Smith said Tuesday. The grant will cover overtime for deputies providing security at the test site.”

The money can be used for up to two years of future expenses, so the sheriff’s office can be reimbursed for future purchases of personal protective equipment, Smith said.

“It helps to know a little bit of funding is there,” he said.

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

Article from Messenger-Inquirer