Fannin County Commissioners consider free mobile testing, CARES Act spending

BONHAM — Covid-19 remains a public health threat, Fannin County Judge Randy Moore told commissioners Tuesday, offering the county’s active case count as a reminder.

There were 17 active cases on Tuesday, with seven reported by the Texas Departmen of State Health Services and 10 more by the county’s health authority, Dr. James Froelich III. Sixteen county residents have died after contracting the virus, but 692 are considered recovered. There have been more than 710 confirmed cases.

Commissioners opted to incorporate Gov. Greg Abbott’s latest executive order, which allowed for bars to begin reopening, into the county’s pandemic guidelines, and they extended their disaster declaration and continuity of operations plan another week.

They also discussed spending federal CARES Act funds, focusing on the trouble in doing so. The county was allotted about $1 million to help fund pandemic measures and needs, but Fannin County, like many others, is having a difficult time meeting the funding’s stipulations, namely that 75% be spent on “medical expenses, public health expenses and payroll expenses for employees substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the public emergency.” Only by spending that 75% can the county access the remaining 25% for other needs, Moore has said.

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The county will spend about $40,000 of that funding to lease the Majestic 6 in Bonham for use as District Court and County Court at Law until Dec. 30. It was originally expected to cost $30,000, but the county’s purchasing agent told commissioners Tuesday that quotes from cleaning companies would boost the figure closer to $40,000.

Also on Tueday, commissioners approved the setting up of for Fannin County residents. Troy Hudson, the county’s emergency management coordinator, told commissioners the service is available at no cost to the county or the public. It will offer walk-up or appointment Covid-19 testing Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. with a one- to two-day turnaround for results.

“They’re mobile. They operate out of a pod … that just basically takes up a parking space,” Hudson said. “So, they are able to move.”

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