BERKS, Pa. | The pandemic highlighted a lot of problems in health departments in counties all over the country, which includes Berks County, as they do not have one.

In light of this, the county commissioners have taken the very first step in what could be a very long process, to create a county health department.

"It's a huge question as to whether there is value in a county health department," noted Berks County Commissioner Kevin Barnhardt.

The county commissioners have decidedly taken the first step to look into hiring an outside company to find out if the county needs a health department, and how much it would cost to pay for a new staff.

The big question now is, can the county afford it?

"It's easy to say, it's going to be expensive and say no, and it's easy to say yes because we would have been better off during the pandemic," Barnhardt stated. "But somewhere in the middle I think lies the reality of all that."

The initial study alone would cost the county about $150,000, but Commissioner Kevin Barnhardt says that money would come out of the American Recsue Plan, from the federal government.

"I'm very curious as to what we find out and to what the flavor of the community is, as to whether they feel as though it's worth the investment," said Barnhardt.

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