Washington, DC, March 27, 2020 – The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), on behalf of the nation’s nearly 3,000 local health departments, released the following statement regarding The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (S. 3548).
“This bill is another important step to ensuring that the nation’s public health departments have the resources they need to continue their work to address the coronavirus pandemic,” said Lori Tremmel Freeman, NACCHO’s Chief Executive Officer. “Local health departments appreciate the support shown by the federal government for their life-saving work on the front lines of this pandemic. Trained public health professionals in towns and cities across the nation are working 24/7 to find people who have been infected with COVID-19, then identify those who may have been exposed to these individuals, connect people who need it to medical treatment, and advise an anxious public about how they can keep themselves and their families safe. They have done so for months, largely out of the spotlight. These funds are much needed to support this ongoing work that protects each and every one of us.”
“The local-state-federal governmental public health partnership has been working for months on this response with no end in sight. Unfortunately, they are doing so with fewer people and an infrastructure weakened by years of budget cuts and flat funding. These emergency dollars will help with this crisis, but we need to do more to ensure that the governmental public health system is strong and ready for the next one. That is why we call on the federal government to also address the long-term foundation of public health to allow the nation to be better prepared for future emergencies and to adequately respond to everyday health needs and challenges. NACCHO stands ready to work with Congress and the Administration to achieve needed investments to bolster the local public health infrastructure and workforce – which has been cut by nearly a quarter since 2008.”
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act includes the following provisions that support the continued public health response to COVID-19:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
• $4.3 billion to support federal, state, and local public health agencies to prevent, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus, including:
• $1.5 billion to support States, locals, territories, and tribes in their efforts to conduct public health activities.
• $1.5 billion in flexible funding to support CDC’s continuing efforts to contain and combat the virus, including repatriation and quarantine efforts, purchase and distribution of diagnostic test kits (including for state and local public health agencies) and support for laboratory testing, workforce training programs and combating antimicrobial resistance and antibiotic-resistant bacteria as a result of secondary infections related to COVID-19.
• $500 million for public health data surveillance and analytics infrastructure modernization at CDC and state, local, tribal and territorial health departments; and
• $300 million for the Infectious Diseases Rapid Response Reserve Fund, which has already been tapped to respond to COVID-19.
Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
• At least $250 million for the Hospital Preparedness Program, including the National Ebola and Special Pathogens Training and Education Center (NETEC), regional, State and local special pathogens treatment centers, and hospital preparedness cooperative agreements.
Health Resources and Services Administration
• $90 million for Ryan White HIV/AIDS programs and $185 to support rural critical access hospitals, rural tribal health and telehealth programs, and poison control centers.