During its second voting session of 2022, the Dawson County Board of Commissioners
approved $120,000 for employees who test positive for COVID-19.
The money comes from the $130,000 left of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. Employees who work 80, 84 and 96 hours will each receive leave for those same amounts of hours respectively.
In March 2021, ARPA was signed into law. Then in August, the BOC approved $100,000 in emergency funds received from ARPA for employees presenting the HR Director with positive COVID-19 PCR tests to each have 80 hours of paid sick leave.
By December, $33,781 remained for that purpose. During the Jan. 20 work session, Dawson County Fire Chief and EMA Director Thompson shared that on average, $20,000 to $23,000 a month has been used from that overall $100,000.
And that’s before the spike in cases due to the Omicron variant, he added.
Thompson said that the pandemic has “changed the game” on people coming sick to work, with remote work becoming possible for some but not others.
“We’re encouraging our employees to be truthful and say, ‘Hey, if you’re sick don't come to work,’ because we don't want to spread it,” Thompson said. “We want to try to minimize our down time because it impacts service delivery at every department, not just my department.”
In related news, the Dawson County government recently received $35,058 in federal public assistance for emergency protective measures related to COVID-19.