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News
Cabell EMS receives nearly $2 million in CARES act funds

HUNTINGTON — Nearly $2 million in CARES Act funds have been added to the Cabell County Emergency Medical Service’s budget as a reimbursement for extra services it has provided during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The special funds revision adding $1,924,550 to the EMS for the fiscal year of 2020-21 was approved by the Cabell County Commission at its bi-weekly meeting Thursday. One million dollars will go toward salaries, while equipment is another $626,000. Printing, supplies and other items represent the rest of the funds.

Three checks representing the funds given from the state to the emergency medical were presented to the commission with the request. The checks were made in August, September and October for various amounts.

Director of Cabell County EMS Gordon Merry said the money was a re-imbursement to the entity for the money it has spent directly as a result of the pandemic. While it includes costs of personal protective equipment for the staff, it also covers public COVID-19 test events the EMS employees have been offering at the request of the state.

Merry said the department has also been going into assisted living facilities up to three times a week to test residents and employees.

The EMS employees also had to undergo training to conduct these services, which is another added expense.

Cabell EMS had been purchasing the items needed to do the testing with the intent to be reimbursed by the state.

The services have been offered in Cabell, Wayne and Mingo counties by the department, at the request of the state, Merry said. He agreed to help the other counties in need, but said the department would have to focus on Cabell.

“I’m having to pay people to come in time and a half to come do the testing. If I did not do that, I would be in trouble at the end of the of the year,” he said. “I did not budget for any of this.”

While there is extra work, Merry said he believes the staff has been taking it in stride.

“Morale wise, I’m sure the crew, especially right now, is glad the money is available and is an additional way of getting income before Christmas, but there is going to be a day of reckoning where you are going to get tired of it.”

Merry said they had been looking at ways to reduce the cost of the pandemic. For example, his employees use two to three N95 masks per call, with around 100 calls per day. With the mask cost being about $2, it adds up quick. Distributors also limit what they will ship to you.

“So we have bene switching to P100, which is a mask that is reusable and has canisters you change every 30 days,” he said. “They allow you to breath freely.”

Those mask costs about $30 or $40 he said but cost less when you consider its ability to be reused so much.


News
West Virginia adds more than 800 new COVID-19 cases

HUNTINGTON — West Virginia added 867 positive cases Sunday for a total of 33,659.

There have been 922,920 total laboratory results received for the virus.

There were also nine new deaths reported, for a total of 582 deaths in the state related to the virus.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has confirmed the deaths of a 73-year-old male from Wood County, an 87-year-old female from Marshall County, an 83-year-old female from Putnam County, a 95-year-old female from Ohio County, a 74-year-old female from Ohio County, an 84-year-old female from Putnam County, a 94-year-old female from Putnam County, an 88-year-old female from Jackson County, and a 78-year-old male from Kanawha County.

“We mourn the loss of these lives and urge all West Virginians to continue to follow the recommended guidance to stop the spread of this deadly virus,” said Bill J. Crouch, DHHR Cabinet Secretary.

Total cases per county are: Barbour (263), Berkeley (2,209), Boone (505), Braxton (94), Brooke (377), Cabell (2,162), Calhoun (43), Clay (94), Doddridge (87), Fayette (950), Gilmer (175), Grant (235), Greenbrier (308), Hampshire (206), Hancock (366), Hardy (150), Harrison (872), Jackson (538), Jefferson (947), Kanawha (4,652), Lewis (197), Lincoln (342), Logan (919), Marion (585), Marshall (790), Mason (251), McDowell (292), Mercer (1,045), Mineral (590), Mingo (831), Monongalia (2,754), Monroe (290), Morgan (206), Nicholas (255), Ohio (997), Pendleton (84), Pleasants (55), Pocahontas (81), Preston (337), Putnam (1,377), Raleigh (1,110), Randolph (547), Ritchie (92), Roane (132), Summers (201), Taylor (218), Tucker (75), Tyler (106), Upshur (359), Wayne (795), Webster (47), Wetzel (319), Wirt (66), Wood (1,565), Wyoming (516).

There were 744 active cases in Cabell County on Sunday, while there were 155 active cases in Wayne County.

In Kentucky, the Ashland-Boyd County Health Department reported 17 new cases of COVID-19, with patients’ ages ranging from 2 to 77. The county has reported a total of 1,166 cases, with 408 of those confirmed in November.

Statewide, there were 1,449 new cases reported, for a total of 137,586, and three new deaths, for a total of 1,661.

In Ohio, the Lawrence County Health Department reported 37 new cases of COVID-19, with patients’ ages ranging from 8 to 81. There have been 1,693 cases in the county, with 35 deaths.

Statewide, more than 7,800 new cases were reported, for a total of 298,096, with 5,722 deaths related to the virus.

More than 155,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported across the U.S. on Sunday, for a total of 10,846,373, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There have been 244,810 deaths related to the virus.