The St. Louis County Department of Public Health has awarded $2.3 million in federal CARES Act funding to St. Louis County public school districts, to reimburse them for expenses made to fight the spread of COVID-19.
This money will allow the school districts to apply for even more funding from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. DESE set up a program in which school districts could apply for state money to reimburse them for up to 25 percent of the cost of buying personal protective equipment. To get that money, school districts were required to first get a commitment from their home county to provide the other 75 percent of the funding.
Because the community had already identified PPE as a key priority, DPH set aside enough CARES Act money to cover the outstanding 75 percent. DPH is grateful for the close working relationship it has with school district leadership, and we are excited that every public school district in the County participated in this program. Notices of awards have been made, and school districts are now encouraged to seek the remainder of their reimbursement from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education before the deadline in November. Please see the image below.
One new case of COVID-19 has been identified among individuals housed at the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in the past several days, bringing the total number of positive cases discovered there since Oct. 2 to 50.
Of those, only 9 incarcerated individuals remain in active isolation, including two who are exhibiting symptoms. The remainder of the patients are no longer infectious and have been returned to the general population.
All of the nearly 900 residents have been tested, and targeted retesting continues.
“The protocols we put in place early have helped us keep the number of cases low and we are cautiously optimistic about the current state of COVID-19 prevalence at the facility among our residents and staff,” Valerie Nelson, chief operating officer of corrections medicine for the Department of Public Health, said.
On Oct. 2, an incarcerated patient tested positive during routine screening. The patient, who had previously tested negative for the disease, was transferred to the facility’s COVID unit. Employees of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health immediately began additional PCR testing of inmates and employees who had had contact with the patient.
Before that case, DPH had detected no evidence of transmission of the virus within the facility. All previous cases were traced to transmission before the individual entered the facility.
To support our COVID patients’ connection to their families, the Community Liaison program was expanded to allow patients to allow Corrections Medicine to share a specific set of information with identified family members. Incarcerated patients have access to telephones at least twice daily, and facility employees are encouraging patients and close contacts to keep their families updated. Families of incarcerated individuals who would like more information are encouraged to email [email protected] or call 314-615-JAIL (5245) and ask for the Medical Community Liaison, who will address their concerns and facilitate communication with family members.