The county was awarded nearly $105 million in CARES Act funding, but county officials require approval at Commissioners Court meetings to use the funds.
The funds will be used for ongoing expenses related to personal protective equipment, hospital gowns, oxygen machines and testing supplies, said Jason Millsaps, chief of staff for County Judge Mark Keough. Some expenses are related to hotel and food for individuals who are quarantined.
“The demand for some of this has slowed down, but it’s gotten a little more specific or more specialized,” Millsaps said. “If they’re looking for masks, they’re no longer taking any available mask; they want a more specific surgical or N-95 mask.”
In addition, the county is also preparing other emergency items in case of a hurricane or other weather event.
County departments as well as county hospital districts and emergency services districts can request items through the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management. The latter two entities could make these purchases on their own, but since they did not receive federal funding, it is easier for the county to to purchase it for them, officials said.
“We have the federal funds to pay for it,” Millsaps said.
The county also approved the purchase of fixed thermal scanner camera systems for the sheriff’s department at a cost not to exceed $500,000. The systems will be installed in jails, courthouses and other facilities.
“If someone walks in, it will automatically scan for temperature, and it will automatically alert whoever the system is designed to alert that someone has entered the building with higher temperature than our threshold,” Millsaps said.