HARRISONVILLE - The Cass Community Health Foundation is collaborating with the Cass County COVID-19 Task Force to meet Cass County’s testing and equipment needs related to COVID-19.
Cass County is in need of an increased supply of financial resources and personnel to administer more COVID-19 testing in the area. To address these needs, Cass Community Health Foundation and the task force have established the Cass County COVID-19 Relief Fund. The fund will be used to purchase tests that detect the virus and determine potential virus immunity, personal protective equipment for health care workers administering tests and more personnel to administer tests within the county.
Kevin Latinis, MD, Ph.D., of Latinis Rheumatology, is the medical and scientific advisor for the Cass County COVID-19 Task Force. Latinis is a practicing physician in Cass County and experiencing the need for testing supplies first-hand.
“Advanced testing techniques can find the virus directly or detect whether our immune systems have withstood the virus. Used together, this can allow us to trace where it has been,” Latinis said. “Once we can locate COVID-19 in our community and understand where it is going then we will be better equipped to safely come out of our homes and go back to work and school.”
Many of the supplies needed to expand testing in Cass County are experiencing price markups of more than 1000 percent. According to a report from a new nonprofit, the Society for Healthcare Organization Procurement Professionals, the cost of approved medical masks increased from $0.38 to $5.75 each and the cost of isolation gowns from $0.25 to $5.00.
Cass Community Health Foundation and the task force are raising money to help cover the higher cost of equipment. Money raised for the fund will also help purchase COVID-19 testing kits that vary in price and can range from $50-$85.
An initial goal for the fund has been set at $500,000 with plans for a second phase goal of $1 million. Individuals and businesses are already stepping forward to support the fund including Cass Regional Medical Center and Dan Dees, co-head of the investment banking division at Goldman Sachs, Kansas City native and one of new co-investors of the Kansas City Royals. Each have pledged $100,000. Other early donors include Bridget and John Brandmeyer, Latinis Rheumatology and IVX Health.
“I am excited to be a part of the Cass County COVID-19 Task Force with several other community leaders from around the county,” Bob Huston, Cass County Presiding Commissioner and task force chair, said.
“We knew we would work well together on community testing and raising money to fight this virus in our county. There is not a harder working group of leaders than these people who work, live and raise families in Cass County.”
The Cass County COVID-19 Task Force members include Chair Bob Huston, Cass County Presiding Commissioner; Vice Chair Kris Turnbow, Raymore Mayor; Medical and Scientific Advisor Kevin Latinis, M.D., Ph.D., Latinis Rheumatology; Chris Lang, Cass Regional Medical Center CEO; Todd Krass, Belton Regional Medical Center CEO; Cynthia Randazzo, Cass Community Health Foundation President and CEO; Jeff Davis, Belton Mayor; Judy Bowman, Harrisonville Mayor; Holly Stark, Peculiar Mayor; Mark Guffey, Pleasant Hill Mayor; Monty Kisner, Cass County Associate Commissioner; Jim Odom, Cass County Associate Commissioner and Sarah Czech, Cass County Health Department.
“Raising funds to purchase more COVID-19 testing kits and supplies needed to administer those tests aligns with Cass Community Health Foundation’s mission to empower our community to improve health.” Cynthia Randazzo, Cass Community Health Foundation President and CEO, said.
“Supporting this relief fund gives Cass County residents an opportunity to fight this virus at a local level. Cass Community Health Foundation is proud to collaborate with the task force and help Cass County recover from this crisis.”
Cass County citizens can join Cass Community Health Foundation and the Cass County COVID-19 Task Force by supporting the Cass County COVID-19 Relief Fund. Visit casscommunityhealth.org/Covid19Relief to make a donation and learn more about how the fund will help Cass County recover from COVID19.