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Coronavirus COVID-19 Local News

Comal’s Public Health Department Prepares to Tackle COVID-19 Outbreak

Comal County Public Health Director Cheryl Fraser supervises a mass vaccination clinic at the New Braunfels Civic/Convention Center in May. Image courtesy of Comal County.

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to skyrocket, Comal County’s Public Health Department is preparing to hire more staff, educate the public about the virus, and make the vaccine available to everyone in the county and surrounding areas.

Speaking at Commissioners Court today, Public Health Director Cheryl Fraser said the county will use money provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) to pay for this and also will seek other grant oportunities to cover expenses.

“We’re actually in Round 4 of the CARES Act funding, and that’s one thing that they’re going to allow us to do is reach out beyond our borders, and I think that’s very important considering the way the city lies,” she said. “So Round 2 is kind of focused on preparing and vaccinating early on, Round 3 was kind of staged for vaccination and it actually allowed us to go back and recover some of those funds that maybe we spent at the mass vaccination clinics, and I think that’s very important.

“Round 4 is kind of the education piece and reaching out to our community and having town hall meetings and talking about the lasting effects of COVID, whether it is mental health or something physical, and educating our community and help to support them,” Fraser said.

In an email to MyCanyonLake.com, she said the county’s Health Department received $293,648 for Round 3. The funds covered previous and future clinics’ medical and office supplies, and paid for staff to manage vaccine and ImmTrac II records and support the “cold chain” for vaccines.

As the county applies for Round 4 funding, Fraser said it is unclear how much money the county will receive or which items on the county’s wish list will be approved.

Round 4 funds would help evaluate vaccine behaviors and perceptions and increase access to COVID-19 vaccines for populations disproportionately affected by the virus, she said.

The Health Department also is working with Human Resources to define job descriptions and projected salaries for additional staff funded by CARES.

The $ 2.2 trillion CARES Act, is an economic stimulus bill passed by the 116th U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27, 2020, in response to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.

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