Chatham to receive more than $84K in federal funds for COVID-19 response

BY ZACHARY HORNER, News + Record Staff
Posted 5/15/20

The Chatham County government now knows how much money it will get from a federal government grant to help the county’s response to COVID-19. The Chatham County Public Health Department will receive $84,834 in funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of federal aid in responding to the pandemic.

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Chatham to receive more than $84K in federal funds for COVID-19 response

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Posted

The Chatham County government now knows how much money it will get from a federal government grant to help the county’s response to COVID-19.

The Chatham County Public Health Department will receive $84,834 in funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of federal aid in responding to the pandemic.

The money is part of an $8.3 billion package approved by Congress in early March as part of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, which flew through Congress and had the approval of nearly every lawmaker, including U.S. Rep. Mark Walker (R-Greensboro), who represents Chatham.

Mike Zelek, director of health promotion and policy at the CCPHD, said this type of funding is “always helpful and is especially important during a pandemic.”

“These funds will help us support the Chatham community, including with items like protective equipment and boosting testing capacity,” he said. “We are combining these funds with additional sources to strengthen response efforts, and will continue to work with our great partners as well.”

Chatham’s grant is among the more than $13.8 million distributed to North Carolina from the CDC.

The county will officially receive the money after Monday’s Chatham County Board of Commissioners meeting, during which the board is expected to approve in its consent agenda an agreement with the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services about how to spend the money. The primary purpose of the additional funding, according to the agreement, is to “implement and scale-up laboratory testing and data collection to enable identification and tracking of COVID-19 cases in the community with emphasis placed on priority populations as defined in NC DHHS guidance to include health care workers, first responders, persons in high-risk congregate settings, and persons at a higher risk of severe illness, and immediate implementation of real-time reporting.”

Zelek said the CCPHD has not yet determined exactly how the funding will be used, but that “several planning discussions about expending funds” have already occurred and will continue.

“Like all things COVID-19,” Zelek said, “it is difficult to have anything set in stone because things shift daily. For example, testing availability through a community partner may expand, or an event may occur that requires additional protective equipment. We do our best to be proactive while remaining flexible to best respond to changing conditions.”

Reporter Zachary Horner can be reached at zhorner@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @ZachHornerCNR.

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