COVID-19 supplies and relief funds available to county

Gale Rose
Pratt Tribune
Medical personnel and critical infrastructure in Pratt County will receive items from a new PPE shipment that arrived recently, to help fight the coronavirus disease.

Pratt County has received additional donations of masks, gowns and face shields. Tim Branscom, Pratt County Emergency Manager, received the donation and informed the Pratt County commissioners of the donations during their regular weekly meeting on June 29. 

Branscom said the items will be used at the health department and Pratt Regional Medical Center with some going to critical infrastructure facilities. The donations will be stored in the garage at the Abundant Harvest Church of the Nazarene “Front Porch” facility until they can be distributed. 

Director of Public Health Darcie Van Der Vyver, said the five more cases had tested positive for coronavirus over the weekend of June 27-28. So far, there has been a total of 11 positive cased of COVID-19 in Pratt County with six that have completed recovery. The number of positive cases is steadily increasing.There have been 443 negative cases in the county. 

As the number of cases in the state is going up, the governor has issued an executive order to wear masks on July 2. On July 3, the Pratt County Commission, after conferring with Pratt County Director of Public Health Darcie Van Der Vyver and County Health Officer Dr. Gene Cannata, chose unanimously to opt out of the governors executive order but encourages everyone to use masks when social distancing is no possible. 

In other business, Heather Morgan, Pratt County Economic Development Director, said that Pratt County would receive $1.8 million for COVID-19 relief from Spark Phase One. County Commissioners would be responsible for determining who would receive the funds. To be eligible for these funds, an expense has to be COVID-19 related and they cannot have received any other payment for the same expense. 

The money will be shared among the taxing entities in the county and if there are remaining funds, the business community can apply to cover their COVID-19 expenses, Morgan said. 

Funds should be available July 15 and they have to be spent by Dec. 30. 

In other Commission activity, the county audit was seamless with no issues, no misstatements and no amendments required. The county reports required no changes, said Varney & Associates co-owner April Swartz who was pleased with the financial operations of the county. 

“You’re very conservative and you watch your money,” Swartz said. 

Jason Winkel, county landfill manager, said his facility is ready for cleanup week. Some areas were under a couple of feet of water from recent rains but he hopes water levels will drop before cleanup week starts on July 6. 

Recycling prices continue to remain low on all items. Winkel said the Recycling Center was ready to send a load of Household Hazardous Waste this month. They are allowed to send out no more than 2,100 pounds of HHW per month so it will take three months to clear out the three loads ready for shipment, Winkel said. 

South Central Kansas Community Corrections Director Catherine Rohrer said she is searching for another vehicle but the Chevy Malibu or Ford Focus she would like to get just aren’t available in this area at this time. To go outside the area would add to the cost so she will wait until the 2021 stock comes in and try again. 

Robert Torres, noxious weed and environmental services supervisor, said his department has been doing septic inspections. He said results of tests of a new chemical to combat musk thistle have gotten mixed results. Pratt County tests will be combined with other counties and states to determine the effectiveness of the product.

Pratt County Fire and Rescue Chief  Billy Hampton said his department had been very busy with two fire calls and two rescue assists.