Residents discussed the contract between Fort Bend County and the Texas Department of State Health Services at the Sept. 7 commissioners court meeting. (Rynd Morgan/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Fort Bend County Commissioners Court approved the extension of a contract with the Texas Department of State Health Services under the COVID-19 Health Disparities Grant at a Sept. 7 meeting.
The responsibilities of the county under the grant include identifying individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and conducting contact tracing; establishing or enhancing community-based surveillance of individuals who have contracted or who have been in contact with someone who has contracted COVID-19; establishing efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccinations in communities disproportionately affected by the virus; and establishing or enhancing the testing and reporting capacity of the county.
The contract is required by the state, and is not related to the county’s contract with Next Wave Strategies for a community vaccine outreach program, according to Fort Bend County Commissioner Andy Meyers.
Jacquelyn Johnson-Minter, director of health and human services for Fort Bend County, said the budget in the contract includes $400,000 for personnel used for disease monitoring—including three epidemiologists and a data entry specialis— and money for office supplies. The contract also includes money to extend the scope of services from the end of May 2023 to the end of July 2023. The motion to approve the contract passed unanimously.
Fulshear Mayor Aaron Groff, who spoke in the public comments portion of the meeting, said that while he was in favor of the county monitoring COVID-19 cases, he was concerned about the amount of money being spent on vaccination efforts.
“There is growing concern over how funds are being distributed and how quickly they are being distributed,” Groff said.