Whitfield County commissioners approve COVID-19 treatment for jail inmates

File/Daily Citizen-News

Inmates in the Whitfield County jail now have access to potentially life-saving treatment for COVID-19 following a vote by the county commissioners to approve an agreement with the city of Dalton for the treatment.

Inmates in the Whitfield County jail who have COVID-19 now have access to a potentially life-saving treatment.

The county Board of Commissioners voted 4-0 Monday to approve a memorandum of understanding with the Dalton City Council that will provide some of the city’s supply of the Regeneron monoclonal antibody treatment to the county jail to treat inmates diagnosed with COVID-19. Board Chairman Jevin Jensen typically votes only if there is a tie.

City Council members approved the measure last week.

A person’s antibodies work by binding to a virus or bacteria and trying to prevent it from infecting that person’s body. Monoclonal antibodies are made by cloning natural antibodies. The technology has been around for about 30 years and is used to combat cancer and other diseases.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, has said monoclonal antibodies are “underutilized” and can reduce the risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19 by 70% to 85%.

“We plan to put this to good use, and we have great hopes that it will be well received by the inmate population,” said county sheriff’s office Capt. Wesley Lynch. “The treatment itself will be voluntary, of course. We also plan on releasing educational materials to our inmates informing them of the potential benefits.”

The commissioners also voted 4-0 to:

• Approve a $516,160 request from the clerk of Superior Court to upgrade the deeds/real estate room in that office. This will digitize records, index them and make them searchable online.

“Since this system would almost eliminate in-person deed/title searches, it would be greatly beneficial during this COVID-19 pandemic and any other government/courthouse shutdowns,” Clerk of Court Babs Bailey wrote in a request to commissioners. “In this time of shutdowns the real estate market has been crucial in keeping our economy afloat and with this digital format the real estate market could continue in Whitfield County. For that reason, I am asking for funding of this project to be supplied by the ARP (the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021) funding.”

Whitfield County will receive $20.3 million in ARP funding to offset the impact of COVID-19.

• Approve a contract with Stephen Blevins to serve as an attorney representing young people in Juvenile Court for one year. He will receive $33,000.

• Renew a contract for one year with Georgia Probation Services of Trenton to provide probation services for Superior Court and Probate Court. The contract will automatically renew for up to five years unless canceled by either side. Georgia Probation Services will receive a monthly fee of $46 for each person under probation, paid by the probationer.

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