The coronavirus pandemic may have been declared over in the United States, but the money for pandemic relief from the federal government keeps coming.

This week, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners will welcome in more than half a million dollars in new relief money for the county.

As many people know by now, the federal American Rescue Plan Act was meant to offer relief for the “impact of COVID-19 on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals and businesses.”

One part of that relief legislation offers states, cities, counties and tribal governments more resources to respond to the pandemic and its economic effects in order to create a stronger – and more equitable – local economy.

To that end, on Thursday, May 5, the Board of Commissioners is scheduled to vote to add $546,000 in federal COVID-19 relief funds to the budget of the county’s health department.  It’s supposed to help reduce communicable diseases in the county and therefore help the economy – and save lives too, of course.

According to county documents on the money, the funds will allow the department “to return to, and in some instances, exceed pre-pandemic service delivery for other communicable diseases thru expanded communicable disease surveillance, investigation, detection, control, reporting and prevention activities.”

The improvements to the program will include adding a new communicable disease nurse position as well as new technology that enhances the reporting of communicable diseases including, but not limited to, COVID-19.

In the supporting literature provided to the commissioners, it’s noted that the pandemic has shined a spotlight on the need for additional funding of all types of communicable disease programs at the local level.  These new funds will therefore be used to detect communicable disease, track it and prevent it.