HHS announces initial funding to jurisdictions supporting COVID-19 response

March 6, 2020

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is announcing upcoming action to provide initial resources to a limited number of state and local jurisdictions in support of our nation’s response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

“CDC is committed to working with state, local, tribal and territorial public health departments to mitigate community spread of novel coronavirus in this nation,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “Our partners are on the front lines of this response and we support their efforts to increase needed public health capacity to confront the challenges this virus presents.”

Using funds provided to CDC through the HHS Secretary's Transfer, CDC will:

·        Award an initial $25 million cooperative agreement to the states and local jurisdictions who have borne the largest burden of response and preparedness activities to date. This is an initial award for those jurisdictions who require immediate assistance for activities such as monitoring of travelers, data management, lab equipment, supplies, staffing, shipping, infection control, and surge staffing. Once supplemental funding is provided, support will be provided to all states and local jurisdictions for a variety of critical public health activities.

·         Award an initial $10 million cooperative agreement to state and local jurisdictions to begin implementation of coronavirus surveillance across the U.S., building on existing influenza activities and other surveillance systems. This initial award is for a limited number of jurisdictions. Once supplemental funding is provided, additional support will be provided to all states and local jurisdictions to enhancing testing and surveillance.

·         CDC will use existing networks to reach out to state and local jurisdictions to access this initial funding.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) to allow healthcare personnel to use some industrial respirators during the COVID-19 outbreak in health care settings. The FDA was responding to an EAU application from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) designed to maximize the number of respirators available to the U.S. healthcare system.

The majority of respirators on the market are used in industrial settings. However, the FDA’s EUA allows respirators approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which are not currently regulated by the FDA, to be used in a healthcare setting by healthcare personnel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Respiratory protective devices are designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles, allowing them to filter more airborne particles than face masks, the FDA said in its statement. The FDA concluded that respirators approved by NIOSH, but not currently meeting the FDA’s requirements, may be effective in preventing healthcare personnel from airborne exposure to COVID-19.

“The FDA and CDC are aware that as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to expand globally, the supply chain for these devices will continue to be substantially stressed as demand exceeds available supplies. Under the circumstances of this emergency, nationwide shortages are anticipated,” the FDA said in a press statement.

FDA has the announcement.

More COVID-19 coverage HERE.