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TRENTON - The New Jersey Department of Health announced July 31 that $32.3 million in federal funding will be awarded to county and local health departments to support COVID-19 response initiatives.

“Throughout this pandemic, local health departments have been working around the clock to prepare, respond to and contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state,” stated Health Commissioner Judith M. Persichilli. “These funds will provide health departments with more resources to identify, track and address local outbreaks quickly.”

According to a release, health departments in each of the 21 counties and the city of Newark, which are responsible for preparedness coordination in their jurisdictions, will be allocated $13.7 million of the federal funding received by the New Jersey Department of Health from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These 22 health departments are known as Local Information and Network Communication System (LINCS) agencies. This funding will allow these agencies to hire additional employees to coordinate testing, contact tracing and isolation and quarantine activities in their communities.

These new positions, COVID Data Manager/Epidemiologist, COVID Social Support Coordinator, COVID Coordinator, will:

  • Provide data management and epidemiological support to all local health departments and contact tracing teams within the area
  • Help individuals exposed to COVID-19 with needs such as housing, food, mental health and medical services and other social supports
  • Ensure testing, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine and social support services are conducted in a timely and complete manner

A total of $18.6 million of these funds will be distributed to the 77 local health departments that do not receive LINCS funding, to hire a Vulnerable Population Outreach Coordinator to ensure at-risk residents in their communities have access to testing and support services such as housing, insurance coverage, unemployment compensation to allow them to quarantine effectively.

This funding is in addition to $5 million in federal funding allocated to support local health departments statewide to carry out critical local public health efforts, such as case contract tracing, providing guidance to long-term care facilities, standing up community testing sites, ensuring individuals have a safe place to quarantine, and a variety of other COVID-19 related activities.

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