$11 Billion Expands Coronavirus Testing

Indian Health Service will provide $750 million to tribal, and urban Indian Health programs to expand testing capacity and testing-related activities
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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is delivering $11 billion in new funding to support testing for COVID-19 disease throughout the USA. 

And, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will provide $10.25 billion to states, territories, and local jurisdictions through the CDC’s existing cooperative agreement.  

Furthermore, the Indian Health Service (IHS) will provide $750 million to IHS, tribal, and urban Indian Health programs to expand testing capacity and testing-related activities. A detailed allocation and distribution methodology will be announced for the IHS funds in the coming days. 

This funding announced on May 18, 2020, is part of the U.S. Administration’s previous funding to empower states, tribes, and territories with their efforts to re-open America.

The source of the government funding is from the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act will provide critical support to develop, purchase, administer, process, and analyze COVID-19 tests, conduct surveillance, trace contacts, and related activities. 

HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a related statement, “For the sake of all Americans’ health and well-being, we must help Americans get safely back to work and school, and that requires continued expansion of testing, surveillance, and contact tracing.” 

“The Trump Administration stands ready to support and guide states in their life-saving work to combat the virus and reopen our country.”

“As the Nation cautiously begins the phased approach to reopening, this considerable investment in expanding both testing and contact tracing capacity for states, localities, territories, and tribal communities is essential,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. 

“Readily accessible testing is a critical component of a four-pronged public health strategy – including rigorous contact tracing, isolation of confirmed cases, and quarantine.”

“As communities move toward a blended mitigation and containment strategy, I encourage all Americans to continue to embrace powerful public health measures – social distancing, hand washing, and face coverings.” 

“We are not defenseless in the battle against this pandemic.”

“These resources will greatly expand testing capacity at federal, tribal, and urban Indian organization facilities throughout the Indian health system,” said IHS Director Rear Adm. Michael Weahkee. 

“Testing is critical to our public health response as we work to defeat this pandemic.”

Each Governor or designee of each State, locality, territory, tribe, or tribal organization receiving funds shall submit to HHS its plan for COVID-19 testing, including goals for the remainder of the calendar year 2020, to include:

  • Number of tests needed, month-by-month to include diagnostic, serological, and other tests, as appropriate
  • Month-by-month estimates of laboratory and testing capacity, including related to workforce, equipment and supplies, and available tests
  • Description of how the resources will be used for testing, including easing any COVID-19 community mitigation policies

Jurisdictions will use the funding they receive to meet the testing goals laid out in their COVID-19 testing plans, including purchasing supplies (such as test kits and other testing supplies, as necessary).

For more information about CDC’s ongoing support to States, please visit this CDC website.

For more information about how IHS is responding to COVID-19 in Indian Country, please visit this IHS website.

Coronavirus Today publishes SARS-CoV-2 pandemic news.