Relief Funding Backed by Rep. Davids to Significantly Increase JoCo COVID-19 Testing, Contact Tracing and Epidemiology Capacity
Funding that Johnson County received from the CARES Act, a federal relief package backed and voted for by Representative Sharice Davids, will help significantly increase the County’s COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and epidemiology division capacity, including more testing supplies. The Johnson County Board of County Commissioners approved nearly $4.2 million this week, $3.5 million of which will go towards laboratory testing. It will also fund six full-time and 35 part-time positions at the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE).
Davids visited a drive-thru testing clinic in Olathe today put on by the JCDHE to see the Country’s expanded testing efforts first-hand. The clinic offers free COVID-19 tests on a first-come, first-served basis for anyone with or without symptoms.
“People in Kansas and across the country are feeling the impacts of coronavirus both on their health and on their economic security. The CARES Act, which I voted for, is one small part of helping get them the relief they need. This virus is still spreading so I’m very glad that Johnson County can use these federal funds to help keep people healthy and plan for the future of both coronavirus and other outbreaks. Congress has more work to do to help people in this country recover, and that’s what I’ll keep working towards,” said Davids.
“This is needed to effectively respond to COVID-19 pandemic, build a department that can robustly respond to emerging and reemerging epidemics in the future, and one that can address different infectious and non-infectious challenges that the county faces now,” said Johnson County Department of Health and Environment Director Dr. Sanmi Areola and Assistant County Manager Joe Connor in a memo to the Commission.
The six new full-time positions — a manager, two epidemiologists, two investigators and administrative support—will investigate infectious disease clusters, do county-wide health assessments and develop plans to prevent or respond to communicable or chronic disease. The other positions will be 15 part-time, on-call contact tracers and 20 case investigators.