Monterey County to get $20.5M for COVID-19 response, vaccination efforts

Peninsula Premier Admin

SALINAS — The Monterey County Health Department is reviewing guidance documents to better understand allowable activities and program requirements that have come with the more than $20 million in unexpected funding through the state from the federal government to support COVID-19 pandemic response activities.

“We are very grateful that the state is allocating 70% of the 2021 funding it received to support local health departments’ pandemic response efforts,” said Dr. Edward Moreno, the county Health Department director.

Moreno said based on a letter received Thursday from the California Department of Public Health, the county can expect to receive about $20.5 million to support pandemic response activities from March 1 through July 31, 2023.

The Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity awarded about $11 billion to the state in 2020 to help address the domestic response to COVID-19 as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act and Payment Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act supplements.

To provide additional support, $19.11 billion from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 will be provided to Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity recipients. By law, these additional resources are intended to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus” by supporting testing, case investigation and contact tracing, surveillance, containment, and mitigation, according to Moreno.

According to the state, recipients should continue to build upon existing Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity infrastructure that emphasizes the coordination and integration of laboratory with epidemiology and health information systems to maximize the public health impact, said Moreno.

The California Department of Public Health indicated that a direct allocation letter will be sent to each local health department in the coming weeks which will outline program requirements, the process for obtaining an advance payment as well as submission requirements for application documents. The Department of Public Health will also be holding a webinar for health departments to talk about the guidance.

Last week, the state Department of Finance notified lawmakers the state had received an unanticipated $1.7 billion in federal funds to help with coronavirus response and vaccination efforts, according to a report in CALMatters, a non-profit news outlet. About $1.2 billion will go to local governments, and the Department of Finance is seeking legislative approval to send the money out as soon as possible.

The Department of Finance letter said $1,187,498,000 for the Department of Public Health will go to local governments and used to further six strategies:

1, Enhance laboratory, surveillance, informatics and other workforce capacity
2, Strengthen laboratory testing
3, Advance electronic data exchange at public health laboratories
Improve public health surveillance and reporting of electronic health data
4, Use laboratory data to enhance investigation, response and prevention
5, Coordinate and engage with partners
6, Recently released federal guidelines include vaccination operations as an eligible use of these funds.

The Department of Finance’s local health jurisdiction funding distribution for the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity grant used a funding formula based on population, poverty and race/ethnicity.

According to the Department of Finance, each California local health jurisdiction, excluding Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Pasadena, is awarded a base of $1 million. The balance of funds are distributed based on the proportion each local health jurisdiction contributes to the 2019 population (50% of the allocation), the proportion each local health jurisdiction contributes to the 2019 population in poverty (25% of allocation), and the proportion each local health jurisdiction contributes to the population this is Black/African American, Latinx, or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (25% of allocation). Population and race/ethnicity data are from the Department of Finance, and population in poverty are calculated using 2019 Census estimates.

Monterey County’s health jurisdiction funding of the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity grant is expected to be $20,479,442, Santa Cruz health jurisdiction $11,079,439, San Benito’s $3,472,678, and Santa Clara’s $62,183,150. San Diego’s health jurisdiction is slated to receive the most with $123,774,567 and Alpine’s the least with $1,039,587.

On Monday, the Monterey County Health Department showed 40,532 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the county with 114 currently hospitalized cases and 289 deaths.

Contributed by local news sources

Next Post

Carmel Unified School District to hire search firm for new superintendent

CARMEL — After interim Superintendent Trisha Dellis announced last month she would be retiring at the end of June, the Carmel Unified School District board voted to hire a search firm to find a replacement. The board voted unanimously on Feb. 2 to issue a request for proposals to find […]