Clallam County gets more CARES funds

Office reopens after it was closed Monday

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County has received an additional $1.5 million in COVID-19 relief funds for needs related to the pandemic.

The three commissioners approved a contract amendment Tuesday with the state Department of Commerce for the supplemental Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds.

The county received an initial $4.2 million in federal CARES Act money last spring and distributed the funds around six priorities areas — public health, business support, rental and utility assistance, support for the homeless population, child care and food security. The additional $1.5 million brings the county’s total award to $5.7 million.

The contract amendment also extends the deadline for CARES Act spending from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15, Clallam County Chief Financial Officer Mark Lane said.

Clallam County is distributing CARES Act money to sub-recipients such as the city of Port Angeles, Clallam County Public Utility District and Clallam County Economic Development Council.

“This amendment will increase CARES grant revenues and grant expenditures by the same amount, resulting in a net budgetary impact of zero once reimbursements are received from Commerce,” Lane said in a memo.

Offices reopen

The county offices that closed for two positive COVID-19 cases reopened Tuesday, County Administrator Rich Sill said.

The main floor office in the county courthouse that houses the Department of Community Development (DCD), environmental health and public works/roads closed Monday after two cases were diagnosed among staff.

“That main office door that feeds those three departments is open again today with environmental health processing incoming traffic and roads processing incoming traffic,” Sill told commissioners Tuesday.

“However, the DCD department is not processing anything today.”

Kevin LoPiccolo, county Health and Human Services deputy director, said the employees who were not exposed to the virus were allowed to return to work Tuesday.

“Anyone who was contacted is required to get tested or has to stay home,” LoPiccolo said.

Human Resource Analyst Brenda Wenzl said Wednesday the seven affected employees can use emergency paid sick leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act or their accrued sick leave.

“In terms of the Department of Community Development, the only place that is absent is planning,” LoPiccolo said.

“There’s actually an inspector who is at the office today as well as a plan reviewer. There just isn’t any front-counter element for building permits.”

Updates about the exposure will be posted on the county’s website, clallam.net.

“This is obviously sort of a moving situation right now, and our most important priorities are ensuring the safety of the public and safety of our employees,” Commissioner Mark Ozias said in the Tuesday meeting.

“As additional information is developed and released, we’ll make sure and post that on our website and look forward to having our county offices fully reopen for business as soon as possible.”

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at [email protected].

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