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AccelerateSC officials discuss spending oversight and rural community outreach

Committees discussed how the state should spread information to rural communities, get equipment for healthcare offices and how to manage oversight over funds.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — AccelerateSC officials met on Monday to discuss different topics and how to proceed as the Palmetto State starts to reopen.

The state-task force has been charged with looking into challenges state and local governments are facing during the coronavirus pandemic.

In the morning session, the Protection committee met and discussed several issues regarding equipment needs for healthcare offices and disseminating information to the public.

"We're having a hard time getting raw materials of N95 masks. All of the things like that are really preventing us from getting the things we need to help get these to the small healthcare providers," said Chuck Spangler with the protection committee. "It's a major concern that we have right now."

The protection component of the task force spent the meeting talking about what issues South Carolina is facing when it comes to better protection for its citizens.

At this time, some healthcare offices are having problems getting masks and gowns they need due to how COVID-19 is impacting production.

RELATED: DHEC: 140 new virus cases, 15 new deaths in South Carolina

They discussed the importance of getting vital information out to the public.

One of the concerns is getting necessary information to people living in rural and isolated communities.

Another topic of discussion was being able to talk with churches about the importance of social distancing, wearing masks, using hand sanitizer, and testing sites for when they do meet.

Leaders like Dr. Delores Dacosta with the SC Commission for Minority Affairs, believe making PSA's and handing out flyers could go a long way.

"It's still a long process because it's going to take a lot of grass-roots organizing to get this information out. Many people in the rural areas have broadband," said Dr. Dacosta. "Even though we may use social media and we have used it more and more in the last two months to help push information out, those folks in rural areas are still going to be the ones that suffer the consequences because they do not have access to the broadband."

Officials continue to urge folks to wear masks even if your area has not seen a lot of cases of COVID-19.

The Resources committee met Monday afternoon to discuss recommendations they can give the Governor when it comes to spending.

One of the things the subgroup has been tasked with is to find effective ways to monitor expenditures for the CARES Funds.

Throughout the meeting, officials talked about spending for different department and agencies such as hospitals and education systems.

At the end of the meeting, the committee voted to support the Department of Administration in finding a third-party vendor to set up a program and to administer the accountability section of the CARES funding.

Greg Ryberg with the committee believes this is an important decision.

"Report publicly to our tax payers how the funds are spent and the impacts of those funds accelerate our economy. Accountability and transparency should be our driving objective," said Ryberg.

To watch the full meetings or to get other information on how the state is working to reopen, head to accelerate.sc.gov.

RELATED: South Carolina hair salons, barbershops, gyms to reopen May 18