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Ryan says funds for Trumbull vaccine center fit CARES Act

BAZETTA — There’s no question the $400,000 in county CARES Act funding set aside for building a vaccination center at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds complies with guidelines set for spending the pandemic relief aid, said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland.

“This is exactly the kind of use the money is for,” Ryan said. “It can be used for mass vaccinations centers. You want to keep people in their cars where they can drive through the vaccination site.”

Trumbull County Commissioner Niki Frenchko recently questioned whether the county had done enough to find alternatives to new construction and comply with federal CARES Act spending guidelines.

Commissioners Frank Fuda and Mauro Cantalamessa voted to support building of the 65-foot-wide, 120-foot-long vaccination facility.

The Trumbull County Combined Health District will be able to do about 200 vaccinations per hour using a drive-through vaccination center. Currently, the county can only provide about 70 vaccinations per hour.

Once the designs are approved and the contract for construction is awarded, the structure is expected to be completed within six weeks.

“It can be up and operational in late April,” said Jack Simon, a Trumbull County Combined Health District board member.

The design for the vaccination center will be similar to a large salt dome, Simon explained. “It is similar to one located in Columbiana County.”

In addition to a vaccination center, the structure will be used for for additional COVID-19 activities, such as storage and distribution of food and supplies to assist Second Harvest Food Bank to provide food for struggling families; and storage of personal protective equipment supplies and equipment for first responders through the county’s Emergency Management Emergency Management Agency, the county’s fire chiefs association and others, said Frank Migliozzi, Trumbull County health commissioner.

“With nearly 75 percent of Trumbull County residents yet to be vaccinated, these efforts are predicted to continue for many more months,” Migliozzi said.

Cortland fire Chief David Rea said having the vaccination center at the fairgrounds addresses concerns about having a place where the vaccinations will not interfere with other activities occurring in the community.

Ryan also talked about the next coronavirus relief package being discussed in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“We are reviewing an extension of unemployment benefits for those that still cannot find work, a $1,400 one-time payment for people making under $150,000 a year and providing money for local and state governments,” Ryan said.

He also discussed pushing for more than $25 million for people needing rental assistance and help with their utilities, and the continuation of an eviction moratorium.

“People are really suffering,” he said.

They also are looking to help with mortgage assistance for the property owners who are experiencing losses due to the pandemic.

“We are hoping to have a little bit of money for restaurants and entertainment venues that have been hurt,” Ryan said. “Hopefully, we can get people back to work and the economy back up.”

Ryan is not optimistic on any Republican support for the coronavirus relief bill in the House, but he said he believes a few Republican senators may support the legislation.

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