Tennessee county adding public health jobs with fed funds

Published 11:43 am Thursday, May 14, 2020

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MEMPHIS (AP) — The mayor of Tennessee’s largest county says the health department wants to hire scores of employees from funds provided by the federal coronavirus response assistance package.
Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said Tuesday a proposed $11.4 million expansion of the health department includes hiring four epidemiologists and about 140 new employees to work on COVID-19 data analysis and contact tracing.
More teams will be formed to focus on nursing homes and jail detainees, Harris said during an online news conference. Nurses also will be hired to work on testing.
Shelby County, which includes Memphis, has received nearly $50 million from the federal CARES Act. The city also has received federal money.
“Most of these positions will only exist while we have the federal funding to pay for them,” Harris said.
The proposal has been presented to the county commission.
Also in Shelby County, district attorney Amy Weirich said grand juries could begin meeting next week. Grand juries will be seated starting Monday, Weirich said in a statement.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and those with existing health problems, it can cause severe illness, or even death.

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