Virus housing program continues

LISBON — A program has been extended to continue making temporary housing available for anyone who can no longer remain at home after testing positive for the COVID-19 virus.

Columbiana County commissioners on Wednesday agreed to extend its agreement with the county’s Community Action Agency for the CAA to continue in its role in screening applicants for participation in the temporary housing program.

The original contract, approved two months ago, expired on Tuesday. It called for the CAA to work with the county health department, which is to determine the health status of applicants. The contract was for $2,400 and Commissioner Tim Weigle said they decided to extend it because of the continuing number of positive cases, which is mostly the result of expanded testing of inmates at the federal prison in Elkton.

As part of the program, commissioners renewed contracts with a local motel and campground to house these people during the 14-day quarantine period after they have tested positive for COVID-19.

This is for people who already have a place to live, whether with family or friends, and for whatever reason can no longer stay there after having tested positive.

Weigle said they have yet to use the program but they came close when a young woman who worked as a ambulance dispatcher was showing signs of having COVID-19. He said they already made arrangements for the woman to stay elsewhere when the test results came back negative.

Counties were ordered to provide this service by then-Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton, who has since stepped down.

The CAA already operates the county homeless shelter, and it received $80,000 in additional federal funding to rent more shelter space elsewhere specifically for homeless people who test positive.

In other action, commissioners scheduled a public hearing at 9:15 a.m. July 22 for a petition from property owners on Foxden Drive, Salem Township. They are seeking to officially close a 0.2-acre section of land.

Finally, commissioners accepted the resignation of their long-time clerk, Scherry Wilson, who is leaving July 17 to take a job in the administrative office of the county sheriff’s department.

Commissioner accepted her resignation reluctantly, and John Dyce, who is running for commissioner this year, was in the audience and he said she was a great asset to the office. Commissioners agreed and said she will be missed.



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