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NORRISTOWN — The Montgomery County Commissioners authorized more contracts related to the COVID-19 pandemic totaling more than $1.7 million during a recent meeting.

A $896,436 agreement with CDW Government, of Chicago, will assist the Montgomery County Information and Technology Solutions Department in order to improve an existing Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, according to the contract description.

“[The] enhancement provides for additional protection to the countywide user base from malicious emails that have increased substantially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the contract description states.

Programmers will conduct an “in-depth scan of all incoming emails, links, attachments, and SharePoint sites with automatic blocking of threats from entering the network environment and analysis of the threat,” the contract states. The active threat protection services will remain valid until Oct. 31, 2022.

Also in technology needs, a $72,800 agreement with Eplus Technology Inc. of Herndon, Va. will allow for a “systems engineer to respond to COVID[19]- related system issues due to increased mobile usage,” according to the contract description. The contract covers 1,040 hours, and is “an extension of the IT staffing augmentation network security project.”

Additionally, the county’s health and human services department requested contracts from several providers worth $450,614.70. The “response kits” will be distributed to Montgomery County school districts, child care centers and religious organizations, and will equip users with supplies and personal protective equipment.

The kits contain alcohol wipes, hand sanitizer, disposable masks, gloves, and thermometers, according to the contract description.

The following firms are included in the aforementioned contract award:

· $323,481.18 for Office Service Company, of Reading

· $23,450 for Top Notch Promotions Inc., of Deerfield, Ill.

· $30,905.04 for Safeware Inc., of Landover, Md.

· $11,375 for Surplus Diabetics Inc., of Deerfield Beach, Fla.

· $38,640.58 Veritiv Operating Company of Pittsburgh

· $22,763 for Elite Sportswear Products of Souderton.

The Montgomery County Health and Human Services Department required $51,750 for the services of Rachelle Martinez, an independent consultant of Laverock, Pa. Martinez will serve as an advisor for the CARES Funding Rent Relief Program until Dec. 31, according to the contract description.

Additionally, a $131,180.35 agreement with CDW Government, of Chicago, will supply 35 laptops for the Montgomery County Planning Commission, according to the contract description. The equipment became available via a contract from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Cooperative Purchasing Program.

Local leaders authorized funds for contracts related to testing centers throughout Montgomery County during the July 23 meeting.

The Montgomery County Office of Public Health requested tents for COVID-19 testing centers in several Montgomery County locations, according to the contract description. The $110,650 agreement with Sea Box Inc., of Cinnaminson, N.J., provides for “four, 20-foot shelters to be used as COVID-19 testing shelters, located at the health centers … in Norristown, Pottstown and Willow Grove.”

A $30,190 contract between the Montgomery County Office of Public Health and Mobile Space Sales and Rental LLC, of Bonaire, Ga. will dispense two trailers for mobile COVID-19 testing unit, according to the contract description.

The county’s department of health and human services entered into a $30,000, one-year agreement with HMFDF Inc. dba Solv Health, of San Francisco. The firm will configure schedules for area COVID-19 testing sites, according to the contract description.

When referencing the six testing locations in Montgomery County, Chairwoman Valerie Arkoosh noted “a very significant delay in the number of days that it’s taking to get results back.”

During her opening remarks on Thursday morning, Arkoosh cited the “substantial outbreaks of coronavirus around the United States” for the lag as “commercial labs are really maxed out in terms of their testing.”

“That is a very serious and a very frustrating problem,” Arkoosh said.

Arkoosh added that she’s been in contact with Quest Diagnostics about the issue. The clinical laboratory company deals with running the COVID-19 tests throughout the county, she said.

“So we are working to identify ... an additional lab partner that would be able to give us the kind of turnaround time on these tests that our residents in Montgomery County should expect and deserve,” Arkoosh said.

@rachelravina on Twitter

Rachel Ravina is a journalist covering news and lifestyle features in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. She grew up in Blue Bell and graduated from Penn State. She's also a news enthusiast who is passionate about covering topics people want to read.

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