The Douglas County Board of Commissioners earlier this week approved allocating $1.5 million of CARES Act funding to Cobb & Douglas Public Health to continue combatting the coronavirus pandemic.

During a virtual meeting Tuesday night, the BOC voted 5-0 to make funding available as a vaccine for the virus becomes closer to a reality.

“This is tremendous for our Douglas community, and I am very thankful for the commissioners’ decision,” Cobb & Douglas Public Health Deputy Director Lisa Crossman said. “It means we put this money to use to directly benefit our residents and assure that they have ready-access to COVID-19 testing, protective supplies, contract tracing, and the vaccine when it becomes available.”

Crossman had originally asked for about $427,000 on behalf of CDPH to get the agency through the remainder of this year.

However, Commissioner Henry Mitchell mentioned that Crossman had previously said that between $1.1 million to $1.3 million “should be enough” to cover the entire cost through next July.

“Instead of you all keep coming back to nickel and dime us, why don’t we just settle on $1.5 million,” Mitchell proposed to Crossman during the meeting.

“We want to be all in and be done,” Mitchell said. “We need realistic numbers.”

Crossman agreed to supply the BOC with a detailed list of what the money will cover. Cobb & Douglas Public Health will invoice the county each month for the funding.

“This gives us some leeway so we won’t have to keep coming back,” Crossman said.

Crossman said the funding will “assure that we can make COVID-19 testing easily available” through staff and supplies.

The money will also cover temporary staff to help investigating and contact tracing, according to Crossman.

With two drug manufacturers close to getting federal approval for vaccines, Crossman said the money will also go towards staff and supplies needed for distribution.

“Our public health staff have been working tirelessly this past two months to prepare for vaccine distribution,” she said. “We have been practicing our drive-through vaccination processes, securing supplies, collaborating with local partners and learning everything we can to assure that the vaccine is provided efficiently and safely to our residents.”

Commissioner Kelly Robinson asked Crossman for reassurance that the BOC funding will go directly to Douglas County residents.

“I just want to make sure the citizens’ needs are met,” Robinson said. “I want the funding to go directly to the Douglas County citizens.”