County leadership wise to stock up on personal protective equipment

Last week, the Cape Girardeau County Commission authorized the use of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to purchase up to $100,000 worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) for county agencies.

The county received $9.2 million in federal funds earlier this year meant to address expenses related to COVID-19, and PPE is an approved use of the money.

Emergency management director Mark Winkler said the county has received requests from several agencies looking for this equipment.

"My recommendation would be to go ahead and order now," Winkler said. "We can make subsequent orders before the end of the year if there is a spike or an additional need."

We were amazed by the amount of federal dollars going to state and local levels of government from the CARES Act. It comes, and rightly so, with specific limitations for how the money should be spent. Shortly after the funds were approved to go to the states, Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy told the Southeast Missourian local government bodies shouldn't be afraid to return unspent dollars. That's certainly admirable -- and correct. This is not a blank check, and government officials must be accountable for spending the funds as intended. Stockpiling personal protective equipment is a good example of how the money should be used.