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Counties seek federal funds to combat coronavirus

Posted 27 February 2020 at 5:47 pm

Press Release, New York State Association of Counties

The New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) is calling on the federal government to provide $3.1 billion in emergency supplemental funding for the public health response to the novel coronavirus. Of the $3.1 billion, at least $500 million should be directed to local and state health departments.

“Our county health officials are on the front lines of preparing communities to respond to disaster, including global outbreaks of infectious disease,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario. “Local county health departments are already stretched thin addressing existing public health issues, without additional funding they won’t be able to adequately prepare for the potential spread of this virus. We need to properly arm these local health leaders for their ongoing and tireless efforts to prevent a serious outbreak.”

Emergency supplemental funding is needed to support current response activities, as well as future work as additional cases are identified. This includes:

• Isolation/quarantine-related activities, including transportation, lodging, and wrap-around services like behavioral health support, counseling, or even necessities like food and toiletries;

• Finding and monitoring patients that are currently under investigation (PUIs);

• Outreach to the general public, including translation of public health materials and work with healthcare facilities to facilitate additional coordination and education; and

• Purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE), including N95 masks, face shields, and fit testing by third party vendors.

Additionally, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that he was seeking a $40 million emergency appropriation for the New York State Department of Health to hire additional staff, procure equipment and other resources necessary to respond to the potential novel coronavirus.

NYSAC strongly supports this action and will work with the Governor to ensure that local health departments have the resources they need to work hand-in-glove with their state partners in managing this outbreak.

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