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Dubuque County supervisors to start reviewing American Rescue Plan applications

The county received $18.9 million in American Rescue Plan funds
Published: Sep. 18, 2021 at 11:22 AM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Like most hospitals, Unity Point Health-Finley Hospital in Dubuque has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is everything from making sure that we have the appropriate supplies on hand to treat our patients, we have the appropriate supplies on hand for our team members so that we can protect them, we have the appropriate staffing model ready to go to treat people,” Barbara Potts, executive director of the UnityPoint Health-Finley Health Foundation, said.

Potts said the staff has learned many valuable lessons because of the pandemic, but one in particular sticks out.

”Knowing what we know now, it has become very important for us to be proactive and to be ready when the next surge occurs,” Potts said.

That is why Finley Hospital is one of many Dubuque County organizations that has requested American Rescue Plan funds. Potts said they are only asking for money for materials they think are essential.

”We would like to purchase more air purifying systems that our teammates can wear,” Potts said. “This protects that team member when they are in working with a COVID patient.”

Staff is also looking to buy additional germ zapping robots, which Potts described as a second-line defense to the work that the environmental services team does. Potts recognized the need for federal funds is significant, which is why she reiterated they are only asking for the necessary.

“I think that purposeful thinking is the right way to think about it,” Potts said. “We knew that there would be a lot of need for this money in our community and we feel like we asked for an appropriate amount and did not tax the system.”

Dubuque County supervisor Harley Pothoff is well aware of that.

“We have had a large amount of requests on the external side of it, for funding, to help with staffing issues, premium pay,” Pothoff said. “Obviously we have more requests than we have money.”

Applications will now be sorted into three categories:

  • Those responding to public health emergencies or their negative economic impacts on residents, businesses, and impacted industries
  • Those trying to compensate for revenue reductions due to COVID-19
  • Those supporting infrastructure projects related to water, sewer, and/or broadband internet.

“They have to show that they can do something great to the public with these funds and they will not need continual funding for the next few years because it is a one-time issue,” Pothoff added. “There will be a lot of work put into this before moving forward.”

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