Mattress bugs & COVID-19 | Information


The proceeds of a “soft” grant of over $ 99,000 under CARES will do more than keep McClain County’s courthouse free from coronavirus.

Sheriff Don Hewett also uses a portion of the funding to address an ongoing bed bug problem at the McClain County Detention Center.

While the sheriff’s department spends most of the federal grant on paying a second court MP’s salary and buying masks and PPE, it has also bought a machine to sanitize the aging prison and installed a shower system.

Incoming prisoners must use the shower when booking.

The shower uses a soapy solution that is deadly to the tiny bloodsuckers and is also said to kill the coronavirus that causes C.OVID-19.

Hewett said the bed bug infestation “got a little extreme” last year, and an exterminator came in half a dozen times last year and sprayed cells.

Even so, concerted efforts failed to get rid of the bed bugs.

Guilt is concrete as old as the prison. The concrete is covered in tiny cracks where the bed bugs lay their eggs.

And therein lies the real problem.

To date, killers have not found a treatment that can interrupt the bed bug life cycle by reaching and killing these eggs before they hatch, emerge, feed, and lay more eggs.

The next step, Hewett said, is to use a special sealant to seal each crack.

In the meantime, the showers help by preventing prisoners from putting more bed bugs on their people.

“We have to be really careful about what we use back there (prison),” Hewett said, adding that every chemical has to be approved by multiple agencies.

In terms of coronavirus precautions, Hewett has purchased a tank and sprayer with its PSA supplies.

From 7 a.m. every corner, window and office in the courthouse will be sprayed with a disinfectant that kills the coronavirus.

When the employees arrive at 8 a.m., the spray has dried and the building has been renovated.

A person of trust is also assigned to wipe down every doorknob and handle.

Hewett said that since the CARES Act money is a soft grant, the county is not required to provide such funds or repay the proceeds.

McClain County’s administrative clerk Pam Beller said the county will file its application for CARES Act funds on July 10.

Little did she know on Monday how much that request would be or whether the county would get everything it asked for.

While public schools in the area and Purcell Municipal Hospital got their referrals under the CARES Act, local governments did not.

It’s a waiting game for Purcell, Washington, Goldsby, and Wayne.

Dale Bunn, City Manager at Purcell, said the application deadline for parishes only opened about 1 1/2 weeks ago.

Across the bridge in Lexington, interim city manager Deana Allen said she hadn’t applied for funds under the CARES Act.

“We didn’t meet any of the criteria,” she said, adding that revenue for the city has actually increased during the pandemic.