The state has received $10.3M from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide additional funding for epidemiological work and lab testing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funding is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the CARES Act, which provides assistance to state, large city health departments, and tribal governments navigating the impact of the COVID-19 disaster. It is part of the CDC’s existing Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases cooperative agreement.
“This is fantastic,” Rachel Herlihy, the state’s epidemiologist said. “We have our work ahead of us to slow the spread of COVID-19, and this additional funding will allow us to bolster our testing, case investigation, contact tracing, and outbreak investigation work at a critical time.”
The state received this funding last week. The CDC will provide further guidance this week on the specific spending parameters. Generally, though, the money is for a two-year period and is intended to:
Enhance case investigation, contact tracing, and outbreak response, especially in high-risk settings and among at-risk populations.
Improve surveillance and reporting.
Strengthen and enhance laboratory testing for response
Improve laboratory coordination and outreach to improve efficiency.
Enhance workforce capacity.
Enhance coordination between epidemiologists and laboratorians.
Advance electronic information exchange implementation.
Sustain and/or enhance information systems, especially with healthcare systems and between state and local public health agencies.
CDPHE staff expects to have plans in place for how to best optimize the funding within the next few weeks. Continue to stay up to date by visiting www.covid19.colorado.gov.