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E-911 dispatch consolidation delayed due to COVID-19 cases

Kicking off the consolidated E911 dispatch has been delayed, because part of the implementation team tested positive for COVID-19.

County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin updated the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors at the regular Board meeting held Monday about the E911 consolidated dispatch center. The new consolidated dispatch will create one dispatch for all three law enforcement agencies in the county.

The plan was to begin using the new consolidated dispatch this week, said Lumpkin, but it has been delayed to the beginning of January because some people on the implementation team tested positive for COVID-19.

“It gives us a little more time to do a little more testing with everything,” said Lumpkin.

The Board also discussed whether employees should stay home from work if their family member has COVID-19 but they test negative for the virus.
The Board determined that an employee who stayed home because a family member had COVID-19 would have to take vacation time. The question was brought to the Board’s attention because an employee in the county’s Road Department is in that situation. Department Head Charlie Schielder said he is concerned that having the employee at work will be detrimental to his crew, because many of his department’s employees are concerned about getting their own families sick. The Board recommended that the employee still come to work, but be required to wear a mask and kept separate from other employees.

Chancery Clerk Melinda Bowman said that one employee in her department had a similar situation, where an immediate family member had COVID-19, but the employee tested negative. Bowman said that employee still came to work, sat at their desk, served the public and did not wear a face mask. The employee sanitized their desk and other employees were careful to keep their distance, said Bowman.

The Mississippi State Department of Health website says, “If you are a household member of someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you must also quarantine at home.” But Lumpkin pointed out that the new public health order on COVID-19 isolation focuses on limiting exposure to household contacts. Lumpkin said he believes the county is unable to compensate an employee for staying home if they do not actually test positive.

In other business the Board:

—Approved reappointing Jonathan Head as the County Fire Investigator.

—Approved paying $1,579 matching grant funds to the Poplarville-Pearl River County Airport. The project improved drainage and the asphalt driveway at the airport. The city of Poplarville and Pearl River County were responsible for five percent of the $94,780 project.

The next Board meeting will be Monday, Dec. 21 at 9 a.m.