Right Now, Schumer Is Negotiating An Emergency, Bipartisan Funding Bill To Attack & Act On Coronavirus; He’ll Cite LI Costs In Push To Make State & Local Needs Part Of This Week’s Deal
Announces Counties & Northwell Combined Could Spend Millions On Coronavirus Efforts As More NY Cases Could Present; It’s Only Fair To Provide Millions in Grant Funding
Schumer: LI Will See Higher Costs, Simply Because Of Proximity—They Must Receive Fed Funds
As the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues its spread globally, and on the heels of another U.S. death from the virus, as well as a confirmed case in New York City, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer revealed that Long Island counties, localities and hospitals could spend millions of dollars over the next few months to tackle the virus. In doing so, Schumer also unveiled a plan to deliver these entities an injection of federal funding in the upcoming emergency deal he is negotiating to pass this week. Schumer said he is in the midst of negotiating the bipartisan plan the federal government will follow to fund the attack on the virus, and explained how he will cite Long Island costs in his push to appropriately fund the deal. Schumer detailed some of the expenses already incurred across Long Island, the work being done, and what’s to come as he pushes his plan. He was joined by Nassau and Suffolk officials, as well as hospital leaders.
“There is still a lot we are learning about the novel coronavirus, but one thing is certain: it’s going to take dollars to tackle,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “Across Long Island that means counties, localities and hospitals will likely spend millions of dollars, collectively, over the next few months to confront the crisis and guard public health. The plan I am unveiling today aims to help ease the local burden of these expenses by including an injection of federal funding in the emergency deal that Long Island can access.”
Schumer explained, as it relates to the emergency funding bill he hopes to pass this week, he will be pushing to inject around $2 billion in federal funds into three major programs that Long Island could benefit from. Those programs include:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Infectious Disease Rapid Response Reserve Fund (IDRRRF)
- Schumer says the flexible funding provided within this account is needed to strengthen critical support to state and local health departments, like those on Long Island. The fund’s dollars could be used to bolster laboratory work, purchase protective and laboratory equipment and other supplies.
- CDC State and Local Public Health Grant program
- Schumer says this grant program can help fund local monitoring, epidemiology, laboratory capacity, infection control, mitigation, communications, and other preparedness and response activities. In other words, often typical work of both Nassau and Suffolk health departments.
- Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund
- This fund provides resources for a number of programs, but most importantly, the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) which provides funding to states, territories, and eligible municipalities to improve the capacity of the health care system to plan for and respond to large-scale emergencies and disasters. Schumer says funds from this account can be used statewide and/or locally to deploy more test kits or to engage response organizations that collaborate to prepare for and respond to medical surge events.
Schumer’s push to include these local priorities in the emergency coronavirus package comes on the heels of his earlier and successful effort to cajole the administration to declare the novel coronavirus a public health emergency. That designation opened the critical Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reserve account that first allowed for millions of dollars to be used in the fight against the outbreak. Schumer, today, said we will need to add more dollars to that account, and the aforementioned others, if we are to have any success in delivering federal funds locally to Long Island, specifically to Nassau and Suffolk.
“Long Island’s local health departments and medical centers, like the lab we are at today, are on the front lines of fighting the coronavirus outbreak. Altogether, these folks have already spent a lot of money on personnel, lab equipment, and supplies. Additional expenditures are expected to include supplies for hospital triage and isolation spaces, as well as lab testing, and I will cite these local expenses as we work to pass this emergency funding package—because I want to make the case for an injection of federal dollars here on the Island,” Schumer added.
Schumer detailed some of the costs Long Island entities have thus far incurred in response to the novel coronavirus. He also explained how Nassau and Suffolk counties’ monitoring of more than 100 people across the Island also puts a strain on local budgetary resources. According to Newsday, at least 83 people from Nassau and at least 29 from Suffolk were being monitored last week by local health officials, and it cost real dollars. Schumer also cited the potential for local monitoring costs to rise significantly in the wake of New York’s first confirmed case of coronavirus as a need for the federal government to act swiftly.
”Nassau County is working around the clock to ensure the health and safety of our residents,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. “While we are still calculating the costs of COVID-19 Coronavirus, we can estimate that monitoring, preparations, staffing and other essential expenses are likely to put a strain on the County’s budget. Federal funding is crucial to assist the County in continuing to protect the wellbeing of our residents. Thank you Senator Schumer for being a fierce advocate for our communities and understanding the financial burden managing this virus will have on our local governments.”
“When a public health emergency of this magnitude must be addressed, it is incumbent upon our federal government to provide the resources necessary to protect the welfare of our residents,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “I want to thank Senator Schumer for stepping up to the plate and demanding that Suffolk County receives its fair share of funding to deal with the coronavirus.”
“As it has since news of the novel coronavirus first surfaced in China in January, Northwell Health continues to maintain a vigilant approach to protecting patients, staff and local communities from the virus,” said Northwell Health President & CEO Michael Dowling. “As a next step, Northwell Labs in Lake Success will have the ability to begin testing for the coronavirus by this Thursday.”
In addition, Northwell Health Labs will have the ability to begin testing for COVID-19 by Thursday, March 5. Northwell’s 101,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Core Lab, which opened in 2019, is part of the Clinical Laboratory of New York Alliance formed in 2014 by Northwell and NYC Health + Hospitals to integrate laboratory services. Northwell Health allotted $5 million to purchase novel coronavirus preparedness supplies between January 16 and February 28. About $2 million went toward lab supplies while other examples of items include: gloves, IV solution, pharmaceuticals, isolation gowns, masks, BiPAP, ventilator circuits and eye protection. Schumer and the hospital note that this investment is expected to jump significantly once the health system begins to encounter and respond to cases of coronavirus, if testing criteria changes to require a broader range of screening, or if rising costs impact the supply chain.
“The bottom-line here is that Long Island has already incurred costs, its proximity to New York City could also potentially guarantee higher costs, and because of all this, they must receive federal funds. It’s only fair, and that’s what I’ll work to ensure this week.” Schumer said.
The most up-to-date information regarding the coronavirus can be found here: www.cdc.gov
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