As the omicron variant continues to spread in communities, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office and other county staff worked to secure additional COVID-19 tests for deputies and the county’s detention center.
At Thursday’s Board of County Commissioners meeting, commissioners approved a request from the sheriff’s office to purchase 1,440 COVID-19 test kits at a cost of $36,327, from Beck-Lee, Inc.
Carrie Dulski, a buyer for the county, told the board the cost is covered through the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program, which provides funding to assist eligible states, local units of government, and tribes in preventing, preparing for, and responding to the coronavirus. This grant was extended through the end of this month.
Grant funding awarded last year has allowed the sheriff’s office to provide COVID-19 related supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) for sheriff’s office personnel.
With the deadline to apply for the final grant money approaching, Dulski said final purchases were quickly evaluated. The current escalation in COVID-19 cases has made it more difficult to obtain test kits and other supplies, she noted.
“We had to do an emergency purchase last week,” said Vicky McDonald, director of administrative services for the sheriff’s office. “Once the vendor was able to confirm the order, there were additional test kits available that we could add onto that and receive delivery here later in January.”
Carroll County Breaking News
She said during the holidays the sheriff’s office and detention center went through “quite a lot” of test kits.
“We don’t want to be in a position to run out of them,” McDonald added.
Commissioner Eric Bouchat, R-District 4, asked how long the office expects this latest order of tests to last.
“It depends … the last three to four weeks we’ve been going through quite a few test kits every day,” McDonald replied. “I think the hope is it slows down and we get [several] months’ supply out of that, but no one really predicted the increased need here with the [omicron] variant so we never know.”
She said ideally the test kits will last between three and six months.
“Is this an elevated price [we’re paying for the test kits] because we had to get them quickly?” Commissioner Dennis Frazier, R-District 3, asked. McDonald replied the county received a discount because of the quantity of their order.
When asked about the average number of COVID tests used and how often deputies were tested, a public information officer at the sheriff’s office declined to comment.