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Department of Health applies for $301 million federal grant to strengthen COVID-19 response


Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said the Department of Health has applied for a more than $301 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to strengthen state and local public health capacity in Pennsylvania.

“This funding is essential to our future response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Pennsylvania,” Dr. Levine said. “In our application, we earmarked about a third of that funding, more than $100 million, to bolster county and municipal public health departments’ response. We intend to use the balance of the grant funding to expand our testing efforts, case investigating and contact tracing and our data infrastructure to improve our response.”

The Department will also continue its close collaboration with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, which separately received more than $92 million in assistance from CDC.

Throughout Pennsylvania, there are six county health departments and four municipal health departments, including those in Bucks and Montgomery counties, that have primary responsibility for public health efforts inside their jurisdiction.

The funding will support six primary strategies to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. These include continuing work to develop a robust testing and contact tracing strategy, supporting local health departments and investing in public health surveillance and laboratory infrastructure. The grant submission focused on ensuring minority and underserved communities are targeted for testing, outreach and we have improved demographic data collection.

Here is a breakdown of these six strategies and the corresponding funding: Strengthen Laboratory Testing: $96,407,366; Advance Electronic Data Exchange at Public Health Labs: $3,133,542: Improve Surveillance and Reporting of Electronic Health Data: $5,048,277; Use Laboratory Data to Enhance Investigation, Response and Prevention: $84,815,746; Coordinate and Engage with Partners: $103,529,626; and Enhance Laboratory, Surveillance, Informatics and other Workforce Capacity: $8,102,129.