The coronavirus cases in Lee County are beginning to inch upward, but no mandates for mask use have been given.

That was among the COVID-19 updates provided Monday by County Manager John Crumpton to the Board of Commissioners at their meeting at the McSwain Agricultural Center.

Sixty-five new cases of the virus were reported Monday while 14 county employees are absent from work having tested positive for COVID-19 or needing to quarantine, Crumpton said.

Health Director Heath Cain is recommending returning to the use of masks indoors, but it will be up to the commissioners to decide if they will be required in county facilities, Crumpton said.

“This is just in county buildings. There’s no recommendations to do anything anywhere else,” he said. “It’s up to the board to decide if they want the staff masks.”

Because there is no state of emergency in effect, Crumpton said, he can’t make that decision.

“Hopefully, the numbers will start trending the other way instead of the way they’re trending right now, which is not very good,” Crumpton said.

He also told commissioners that he had received correspondence discussing how the county can use the money it will receive from the American Rescue Plan legislation.

The county is slated to get $11.9 million, Crumpton said, while the City of Sanford will get about $8 million.

The money can be used to make infrastructure repairs or to fund mortgage payments or rent, he said.

Another use is the replenishment of staff employees and lost revenue, but the county doesn’t qualify for either of those, Crumpton said.

Workers whose hours were shortened during the pandemic are returning to full time duties, he said. The county’s tax revenue in the past year make it ineligible to use for monies that were lost during the pandemic, Crumpton said.

He said he would find out how other counties are using the money, but urged commissioners to be considering it as well.