HHS funds testing capacity for government labs

May 20, 2020

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to provide $11 billion in new funding for COVID-19 testing, the department said in a press release.

Of that amount, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will provide $10.25 billion to states, territories, and local jurisdictions through the CDC’s existing Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases (ELC) cooperative agreement. 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.

The funding, which was appropriated in the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, will provide money to develop, purchase, administer, process, and analyze COVID-19 tests; conduct surveillance; trace contacts and related activities. These funds, along with the previous funding from CDC and IHS, will help states, tribes, and territories with testing efforts.

HHS said it will require governors or designees of each state, locality, territory, tribe, or tribal organization to submit to HHS their plans for COVID-19 testing, including goals for the remainder of calendar year 2020. HHS said the plans should include the following: 

·        Number of tests, including molecular and serology tests, needed on a month-by-month basis.

·         Month-by-month estimates of laboratory and testing capacity, including those related to workforce, equipment and supplies, and available tests.

·         Description of how the resources will be used for testing to support efforts to ease mitigation restrictions. 

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