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York County spent $4.7M on COVID-19 response

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

York County spent $464,000 on COVID-19 supplies from the beginning of the pandemic through July, including approximately $130,000 on masks, $34,000 on gloves and $17,000 on hand sanitizer, according to an itemized list of expenses provided to The York Dispatch.

But the cost of supplies paled in comparison to the extra personnel costs at York County Prison, which totaled $4.2 million to account for wages and benefits for employees to accommodate quarantines, extra cleaning and social distancing, said county spokesperson Mark Walters.

The York County Board of Commissioners approved $4.7 million in federal reimbursement funds Wednesday to cover those costs through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Julie Wheeler, a businesswoman and Republican committeewoman from Windsor Township, is running for the York County Board of Commissioners.

"We will continue to have expenses that the county incurs through the end of the year as we manage COVID-19,"  President Commissioner Julie Wheeler said.

County administrator Mark Derr said there will be more funding streams coming in from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and other grants for the upcoming elections.

York County President Commissioner Julie Wheeler listens as John Porter, executive vice president and COO of WellSpan Health, speaks during a press conference at the commissioner's chambers Monday, March 16, 2020. Wheeler declared a state of emergency in the county due to the Coronavirus. Bill Kalina photo

In addition to the $4.7 million in reimbursement funds for the county, the commissioners approved two other allocations: $3 million to be disbursed to municipalities, based on population, to help cover their COVID-19 expenses, and $410,000 to be disbursed to eligible long-term care facilities, with a maximum of $10,000 per facility.

Nursing homes and long-term residential communities have been hit especially hard by the pandemic, Wheeler said, with both employees and residents having to wear personal protective equipment.

"We know they've been dealing with a lot," she said.

Forty-one personal care homes and nursing homes are eligible for the aid, Wheeler said.

Qualifying facilities include Colonial Manor in Spring Garden Township, Homewood at Plum Creek in Penn Township, Pleasant Acres Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Springettsbury Township and Accolade Personal Care Home in New Freedom.

In total, the Board of Commissioners has allocated $27.2 million of the $40.5 million in CARES Act funds it received, with $13.3 million remaining.

All funds must be allocated by Dec. 31.

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