Cobb DOT’s winter weather preparations delay distribution of COVID tests

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The possibility of snow and ice Sunday has delayed the distribution plan for the 60,480 COVID rapid self-test kits the Cobb County Board of Commissioners approved last Tuesday.

According to a press release from Cobb County Communications Director Ross Cavitt:

Cobb County Department of Transportation crews loaded up spreaders and tested their inclement weather equipment today in preparation for possible wintry weather this weekend.  Weather forecasters say a mixture of ice and snow could impact Cobb starting early Sunday morning.

Crews plan on pretreating select bridges, overpasses, and known trouble spots across the county starting around 6 p.m. on Saturday.  DOT crews will man shifts around the clock into Monday to treat roads and respond to reports of trouble on hundreds of miles of thoroughfares.

The potential for ice, snow or a combination of both makes it a challenging situation to prepare for. 

“We wanted to make sure all the equipment is working and ready,” said Bill Limbaugh, a supervisor with Cobb DOT is quoted in the press release as saying.  “After that, we just have to be prepared to deal with whatever comes our way.”

There were distribution events in the planning stages for the COVID test kits with Monday, January 17 as the target date to begin, but those have been postponed because of the possibility of hazardous weather.

National Weather Service forecast for Sunday

The National Weather Service currently has the following outlook for the weekend in Cobb County:

Saturday Night Rain showers before 5 am, then rain and snow showers. Low around 32. East wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%.

Sunday Rain and snow showers before 8 am, then freezing rain between 8 am and 1 pm, then snow showers after 1 pm. High near 35. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Background on the COVID test kits

At last Tuesday’s meeting of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners, the BOC voted 4-1, with District 1 Commissioner Keli Gambrill in opposition, to approve the purchase of 60,480 iHealth COVID rapid test kits.

The details of the request for approval of the purchase were described in the agenda packet for the meeting as follows:

On December 14, 2021, the Board approved the closeout of the CARES fund federal grant program. At that
time, unspent funding was allocated to Public Safety-related County departments to reimburse a portion of
eligible personnel expenses incurred during the Pandemic.

Under the current Declaration of Emergency, entered into on December 22, 2021, the Director of the Cobb
Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) has the authority to approve emergency actions deemed necessary
to address public health issues within Cobb County.

In response to the surging number of new Covid-19 cases, the County has restored previous safety protocols
and is taking every measure possible to mitigate the impact of this virus.

In order to limit unnecessary exposure, the CEMA Director has authorized under emergency authority, the purchase of 60,480 At-Home “iHealth Test Kits”, for distribution to the public. These kits have been purchased from Matrix Management Services, LLC, at a cost of $13.50 each. The total emergency purchase price of $816,480.00 was quoted on December 30, 2021.