The recently established Bastrop County Public Health Department has received its first federal funding to aid in the creation of an infectious disease preparedness team. The $50,000 grant from the National Association of City and County Health Officials aims to help build capacity for rural health departments.

The specifics

The funding will help prepare the Bastrop County Public Health Department for an infectious disease outbreak similar to COVID-19. Donna Nichols, the Bastrop County Public Health Department interim executive director, helped write the grant application.

“If we have another outbreak, pandemic [or] epidemic in the future, we have a little team that can get together and be prepared enough to know what the health message is and to make sure that we're serving those who are again disproportionately affected,” Nichols said.

Looking ahead

A cooperative agreement will be put in place to provide resources for the effort when the grant expires at the end of July, Nichols said.

“What we're trying to do is be a bit more prepared,” Nichols said.

Also of note

The Bastrop County Public Health Task Force submitted an application for a $100,000 grant from the Health Resources and Service Administration early this year. The outcome of the application is expected in June, Nichols said.