Coronavirus notebook: Tracking Covid-19 response money, SLU nets developer’s donation
The city of St. Louis and St. Louis County on Thursday each launched websites tracking spending associated with their response to the coronavirus pandemic.
St. Louis County’s so-called “transparency portal”, where the public can view spending and contracts associated with the county’s response to the pandemic. County Executive Sam Page said in a release Thursday that the portal, available at stlcorona.com, is now live. The county’s actual expenditures to date related to the pandemic were $368,366, with total commitments of nearly $5.96 million, according to the portal as of 2 p.m. Thursday.
The actual expenditures include $230,606 for the St. Louis County Police, $100,362 in emergency procurement and $15,104 for the IT department. Expenditures include medical screening and emergency cleaning services, N95 masks, body bags, and portable toilets for the parks and recreation department.
The county said it received over $173.48 million Wednesday in federal funds to be used exclusively for efforts in response to the pandemic, officials said. Federal guidelines released Wednesday outline how the funds, overseen by the U.S. Treasury Department, will be spent.
The St. Louis County Council on Tuesday failed to pass legislation to spend $7 million on expanded testing and to authorize spending of the nearly $175 million in federal coronavirus-related stimulus funds, as Republicans and Democrats were divided on the issue. However, the council’s Democratic leaders expect to have enough votes to pass both bills April 28.
Separately Thursday, Mayor Lyda Krewson announced the city of St. Louis’ own online portal for tracking spending on supplies and operations associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. The city said the site, which will be periodically updated, contains detailed information about expenses incurred by the city, including contracts and leases it has entered into on an emergency basis, through the director of the Department of Health.
The portal was up to date as of April 12, the website indicated Thursday. The site indicated that as of that date, the city has spent nearly $2.29 million related to the pandemic. Some of the largest expenses include $1.2 million for 220,000 KN95 masks, $498,500 for 10,000 disposable protective coveralls and $112,778 for 156 cases of gloves. Also included were 20,000 Covid-19 test kits for $90,000.
The site also includes several agreements for temporary shelter for the city’s homeless population.
The city’s portal does not currently include overtime expenses incurred by essential city employees working during the pandemic, according to a release.
REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER MAKES DONATION TO SLU
LuxLiving, a St. Louis real estate developer, has donated $50,000 to Saint Louis University‘s Center for Vaccine Development to support the university’s research aimed at developing new vaccines for Covid-19.
The gift will support SLU’s new OneSLU fundraising initiative, which is made up of funds designed to support crucial medical research efforts during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as emergency financial assistance for students and employees, officials said.
“We are honored to be a part of such a worthy cause that can have a positive impact for everyone on earth, while giving back and supporting the world renowned medical research community that is doing amazing things in St. Louis,” Victor Alston of LuxLiving said in a statement.
SLU is a national leader in vaccine research and development, officials said. Its Center for Vaccine Development is one o nine federally-funded Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units in the U.S.
In late March, SLU said its researchers were studying what could be one of the first treatments for Covid-19 as part of a global investigation. The university’s study is investigating the safety and effectiveness of remdesivir, an investigational, intravenous anti-viral medication, in treating Covid-19 patients.
LOCAL THEATER COMPANIES JOIN FORCES TO NAVIGATE COVID-19
Sharon Hunter, artistic director and producer of Moonstone Theatre Co., is aiming to address some coronavirus-related challenges facing the local theatre community by forming the St. Louis Theatre Community Task Force.
“As I was thinking how to proceed with my own company in the wake of the pandemic, I started thinking it would be helpful to get a lot of the theaters to sit down via Zoom and discuss concerns, ideas and solutions for moving forward as we navigate the future of theatre in St. Louis,” Hunter said in a statement.
The task force will address concerns including conducting safe auditions, rehearsals and performances, finding new ways to seat audiences, maintaining the visibility of the St. Louis theatre community, new ways to offer theatre experiences and recommendations for the use of personal protective equipment, officials said.
The first meeting of the task force, conducted online, will take place Thursday at 7 p.m. Those interested in participating should contact Hunter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ANHEUSER-BUSCH TO TRANSFORM INTO TEMPORARY BLOOD DRIVE CENTER
On Friday, Anheuser-Busch Brewery Experience will serve as a temporary blood donation center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This is part of the company’s $5 million donation to the American Red Cross it announced in March.