In COVID-19 related news, after a lengthy discussion, the Sunflower County Board of Supervisors voted to amend its recently enacted policy pertaining to employees that are off work due to the virus.
The existing policy states that an employee, who has previously tested positive for the virus, must retest and receive a negative result before they can return to work.
The revision states that if an employee has knowingly been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus, but has no symptoms and did not test positive themselves, they must take a “rapid” COVID-19 test, at the county's expense, and receive negative results before they can return to work.
District 1 Supervisor Glenn Donald explained, "The county is going to pay for the rapid test so we won't have you sitting at home two to three weeks and then you coming back negative and we've paid you for two weeks."
There was some discussion about the accuracy of the rapid response tests and District 4 Supervisor Anthony Clark said he was told that a great many of the tests were inaccurately coming back with positive results.
An employee who has tested positive, gone through the required quarantine period and released by the doctor can come back to work if they receive a negative retest. County Administrator Gloria McIntosh said, "They can get a test and come back to work as long as they wear their mask and gloves if they're not showing symptoms."
If the employee tests positive, then they're not going to be allowed to return to work. Donald said they’re just trying to make sure that they don’t expose other workers to people who have been exposed.
In other business,
Another company has come forth to offer cleaning and disinfecting services for county-owned buildings. During Monday's meeting, Joshua Payne representing Breathe Easy, LLC, of Greenville, told the county lawmakers that his company could provide fogging and disinfecting services. Payne said, “It's a virucide, also a fungicide. It will kill H1N1, the human coronavirus, also E. coli and Ebola and things of that nature. So, it's very multifaceted."
The cost for the fogging is around $150 per 1,000 square foot and $100 per square foot for disinfecting. He said that although a single application is good for up to 90 days, he recommends a treatment every 30 days for high-traffic areas.
Payne's company was the second to make a presentation before the board and although both proposals were taken under advisement the county may apparently choose another method.
Donald suggested that the county look into purchasing their own chemicals and using the already available hazmat suits and the sheriff’s department to treat their own buildings.
In addition to Donald's suggestion, McWilliams introduced the option of using ultraviolet light to combat the virus. He said based on his reading, UV lights have been very successful in eliminating viruses and suggested that the members review the materials to see if that would be a more viable option.
Additionally, there was a discussion on how to get the solid waste officers more active in catching dumping violators and writing citations for county residents who dump illegally. Infrared cameras for capturing nighttime footage will be purchased and strategically placed to go along with the cameras already in use for daytime photos.
Also, County Engineer Ron Cassada gave an update on the U.S. Highway 82 turning lane project. There was an additional $81,000 required for the project and the county leaders had given him permission to contact the Mississippi Department of Transportation about sharing half of that expense.
During his presentation, he reminded the board members of the initial cost of the project. "The original budget… the small municipalities grant was $120,000, Sunflower County was going to match the $30,000, the business owner was going to match $5,000," he said.
However, since the project came in over bid by $81,000 those figures had to be adjusted. "So the revised budget will now be, small municipalities $150,000, Sunflower County’s original match was $30,000 plus an additional $41,000. So, that's $71,000 for Sunflower County. And MDOT, in their Memorandum of Agreement, is agreeing to pay $40,500 for a revised budget of $236,500 for the total project, which includes engineering, testing, inspection and surveying."
Cassada said the engineering estimate is $236,492, without any contingencies; however, if anything goes over then Sunflower County is responsible for the balance.
So, the leaders voted to approve the amended budget, accept the MOA from MDOT and to contract with the lowest bidder, Pavecon Limited, for a cost of $211,302.95 to get the work done.
Cassada also submitted two funds requests, a contractor and an engineer's estimate in the amounts of $198,151.25 and $23,712.62 respectively. The contractor's request was for Double-S Inc., and it was for work done on the access road to Delta Protein Products in Sunflower. Funds for that work were derived from a Delta Regional Authority grant.