Following the news of an Erath County employee testing positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, July 2, the Erath County Commissioner’s Court met and approved the payment of an outstanding invoice for cleaning and disinfecting four county buildings for $40,000.
"Yeah, it was a pretty big number," Precinct 3 Commissioner Joe Brown said, but noted that it was something new for the county to deal with. "If we had COVID a year ago, we would have known."
The employee who tested positive for COVID-19 had not been at work since onset of symptoms and does not usually interact with the public. The employee remains in isolation and affected co-workers were notified.
When asked about the decision to hire a local Erath County company to do the disinfecting at the cost, Brown responded with, "It was declared an emergency action by all four commissioners."
He said the company used something called an "ozone generator." The price was based on the total amount of cubic feet in the four county buildings.
"They charged us two cents per cubic feet less than the insurance rate pays," Brown said. "From the taxpayer side, we were just trying to get the buildings and facilities clean and sanitary for the public."
Brown also said that the commissioners "checked with other counties about what options they might consider." One county reported that it had used chlorine to disinfect its facilities when needed.
Erath County Judge Alfonso Campos said he was not at that commissioners meeting when they discussed the matter of disinfecting the county buildings.
"We have funds for use during disasters that we can draw from," he said.