Monroe County, Indiana – At their regular meeting on Wednesday morning, Monroe County commissioners approved revisions to two existing contracts related to local government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

An early-November agreement with Security Pro 24/7, to help enforce the county board of health’s regulations, was bumped by commissioners on Wednesday, from $25,000 to $50,000. That should be enough to cover enforcement through Feb. 1, according to county attorney Jeff Cockerill.

The county’s health regulations, which were updated on Nov. 17, were imposed by the county’s board of health to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic virus.

The board of health has the same agreement with Security Pro 24/7 on its Thursday 1:30 p.m. meeting agenda.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, commissioners added $12,500 to the $70,000 they had approved in an agreement with Dee Owens in mid-July, for processing of claims made by businesses and nonprofits for reimbursements under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The initial amount was approved by the county commissioners in mid-July.

The new amount will fit into the revised reimbursement program, which is now administered from what are now county funds. That’s because the state of Indiana is passing through Monroe County’s entire $4.7 million amount of CARES Act allocation based on public safety payroll and health department expenses. In early December, the commissioners had approved a reconfiguration of the program, based on the state’s reimbursement.

The approach the county is taking for its revised program is to apply the same criteria the feds did for CARES Act funding, which is for non-payroll, COVID-19 related expenses.

On Wednesday, president of the board of commissioners Julie Thomas said that $322,264 had been distributed so far  through the program to businesses and nonprofits. Another $85,712 has been distributed to other taxing units, Thomas said.

At the board of health’s Dec. 2 meeting, Aaron Waltz with Security Pro 24/7, said bar owners and restaurants like the fact that the enforcement officers take the pressure off the bar and restaurant owners to do the enforcement.

With the departure of many of the college students after Thanksgiving, Waltz said, the enforcement activity has changed a bit. Waltz said that by Thanksgiving, the college students “all knew and understood the rules when they went out.” Now that the college students are gone, the locals are coming back, he said. Waltz added, “So it’s kind of like the bar owners and restaurant owners are having to retrain some people.”

At the Dec. 2 board of health meeting, county health administrator Penny Caudill said Security Pro 24/7 would help with security, when the first round of vaccines are delivered to Monroe County. Based on previous statements by Caudill and others, the first of the vaccine doses will arrive in the next week or so.

First in line will be frontline medical workers and long-term care residents. After that come at-risk people and public safety workers.

According to Indiana’s state department of health’s dashboard updated on Wednesday, Monroe County has recorded another two deaths due to COVID-19, bringing the total to 62.