Coronavirus stimulus provides key investments in public health

Coronavirus stimulus provides key investments in public health

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Silver Spring, MD, March 27, 2020 — The emergency aid package passed by Congress today makes key investments in public health, according to the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL). The measure, designed to bolster US response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), includes a tenfold increase to improve the management of public health data and a substantial boost in funding for state and local health departments, including public health laboratories.

“Public health department and laboratory staff have been on the front lines helping to protect our communities from this novel disease threat. They are over-burdened and short on critical supplies,” said Scott Becker, CEO of APHL. “This stimulus package provides important funding that will help strengthen our nation’s response to the pandemic and other pressing health challenges.”

The measure includes $500 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to improve the management of public health data. This funding will help develop and deploy data and analytics that scale rapidly in emergencies, provide predictive capacity to identify emerging threats, ensure two-way information flow and more to better detect and monitor disease threats.

The bill also provides $1.5 billion to CDC to fund state and local health departments and their laboratories, in addition to the $950 million already provided for these activities in the first supplemental funding package. It will strengthen these critical agencies to enable them to respond nimbly to public health emergencies, including COVID-19.

“If we’ve learned anything during the first months of our COVID-19 response it’s that monitoring, testing for and tracking disease and preparing our communities for health threats are absolutely essential functions and must not be taken for granted,” said Becker. “This stimulus package includes long-overdue funding to help protect us against COVID-19 and other potential health threats.

“We look forward to the president enacting this measure and to our continued work with the administration and Congress to ensure adequate and sustained funding to protect public health.”

APHL also joined partners in issuing a statement applauding members of Congress for providing $500 million for the Data Modernization Initiative at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that will transform public health data systems and save lives.

Contact: Michelle Forman at 240.485.2793 or michelle.forman@aphl.org

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The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) works to strengthen laboratory systems serving the public’s health in the U.S. and globally. APHL’s member laboratories protect the public’s health by monitoring and detecting infectious and foodborne diseases, environmental contaminants, terrorist agents, genetic disorders in newborns and other diverse health threats. Learn more at www.aphl.org.

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