County, Royal Plus Enter MOU For Ebola Services

SNOW HILL — County officials this month approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Royal Plus to provide remediation and containment services if and when there was ever a confirmed case of Ebola in Worcester.

While the furor over the Ebola outbreak worldwide and its eventual arrival in the U.S. late last year has died down considerably, state and local health agencies continue to monitor travel and potential positive cases. Last week, the Worcester County Health Department proposed to the County Commissioners an MOU with Royal Plus, a local disaster relief company, to provide containment and remediation services if the disease ever made its presence felt in the county.

Worcester County Health Officer Debbie Goeller explained last Tuesday the MOU would allow the county to execute a Biohazard Remediation Services contract with Royal Plus in the event of an outbreak of the Ebola virus in Worcester.

“If needed, we could activate the contract,” she said. “We’re fortunate in our county to have a company in place experienced in hazardous waste cleanup. As you may recall with the first U.S. case in Texas, that community did not have a plan in place.”

Goeller explained the MOU merely provides an outline of the services Royal Plus could provide in the event of a case or an outbreak in Worcester and the potential cost to the county would be dictated by the extent of the intervention by the company.

“There is no flat fee associated with this,” she said. “I can assure you it would not be an inexpensive proposition.”

County Attorney Sonny Bloxom told the Commissioners he had reviewed the MOU with Royal Plus and found it to be a worthwhile endeavor. Bloxom said while the Ebola scare had waned, the MOU represented an insurance policy of sorts for the county.

“If and when it happens, it’s the kind of thing we wouldn’t want to spare any expense on,” he said. “There is no contract, but this will put them on standby if and when this ever occurred. That’s why it’s structured as an MOU.”

Some commissioners questioned whether the MOU should have been put out to bid like other county service contracts. Goeller explained Royal Plus was the only company in the area, and one of just a few around the country to provide the service.

“Royal Plus is the only one in our area and frankly, we’re lucky to have them ready to step up and do this work,” she said. “At this point, it would be exclusive because we don’t have anybody else around here to do that.”