County health department granted $24.3M by CDC for virus health equity

Coronavirus

A general view of the Centers for Disease Control headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia on April 23, 2020. – The worldwide death toll from the novel coronavirus pandemic rose to 186,462 on April 23, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1900 GMT. (Photo by Tami Chappell / AFP) (Photo by TAMI CHAPPELL/AFP via Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The San Diego County Department of Health and Human Services Agency was awarded nearly $24.3 million from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to address COVID-19-related health disparities, it was announced Thursday.

The CDC awarded California health agencies $195.6 million for that purpose — part of a $2.25 billion nationwide investment seeking to advance health equity. It is the CDC’s largest investment to date to improve health equity in the United States, according to the agency, and is funded through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.

“These grants demonstrate our steadfast commitment to keeping equity at the center of everything we do,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky. “They are an important step in our unwavering efforts to strengthen our communities’ readiness for public health emergencies — and to helping everyone in America have equal opportunities for health.”

The intended outcomes of the grants are to reduce COVID-19-related health disparities, improve and increase testing and contact tracing among populations that are at higher risk and are underserved — including racial and ethnic minority groups and people living in rural communities — and improve state, local, U.S. territorial and freely associated state health department capacity and services to prevent and control COVID-19 infection.

“The pandemic has laid bare longstanding health inequities, and health departments are on the front line of efforts to address those inequities,” said Dr. Jose T. Montero, director of CDC’s Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support. “These grants will provide these health departments with much needed support to address disparities in communities that need it most.”

Other recipients include Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties, which were awarded $27.2 million, $22.9 million and $23.4 million, respectively.

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