New LeFlore County Department of Human Services Director Michelle Wade speaks to members of the Poteau Kiwanis Club during the local organization’s weekly meeting Thursday afternoon at Western Sizzlin.

PDN photo by David Seeley

Like everyone and every entity, the COVID-19 pandemic affected the LeFlore County Department of Human Services (DHS).

“When the pandemic hit, all of our workers had to go home and work,” said Michelle Wade, the new LeFlore County DHS director.

However, the positive of all this is that it’s actually helped the LeFlore County DHS process more claims and handle more cases faster.

“When all the numbers were crunched, we realized that we actually processed more applications during the pandemic and from home than we did in the county office," Wade said. "We just went region-wide. We have 22 counties in our region. We’re calling it workload sharing. No matter where you’re at in the region, you’ll work cases from all over the region. So, no matter where people are, we’re getting services to people in one day as compared to like 30 days. The verifications might take a day or two.”

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