Governor Hochul announces new funding to help counties meet COVID-19 response costs

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Governor Kathy Hochul announced today that she is making $ 65 million available to counties in New York State to help cover the costs associated with administering vaccines and boosters and applying. of the mask or vaccine mandate for indoor public places that went into effect statewide last week.

“Getting vaccinated and wearing a mask are the safest ways to fight COVID and stay safe, and this funding will help counties across the state implement the reasonable, responsible and effective mandate of the mask or vax in place until mid-January. ” Governor Hochul said. “The state is taking important steps to fight this pandemic and is giving New Yorkers the tools everyone needs to stay safe. Instead of spreading COVID, let’s spread the holiday cheer and do it safely by getting vaccinated and wearing masks indoors in public spaces. “

Up to $ 1 million will be available for most counties, with larger counties receiving up to $ 2 million. While the state expects New Yorkers to understand the importance of keeping up with the new requirements during the winter wave and as we enter this holiday season, the application will be carried out by local health departments. . The new funds will apply to expenses incurred by counties and local health departments from the announcement of the “mask or vaccine” mandate on December 10 until its expiration on January 15, 2022, and will be provided on a reimbursement until a request to the Ministry of Health. Eligible expenses include: personnel costs and site specific costs for all sites offering vaccines, boosters and / or tests; personnel costs associated with the distribution of masks, tests and vaccines / boosters; personnel costs associated with the application of the mask protocol; and public awareness efforts for the mask or vaccine protocol.

Acting Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said: “Layered mitigation is essential to combat the surge of winter. The state continues to do all it can to promote and protect the health of New Yorkers, and this new funding will help support these efforts in local communities on the ground – so they have the resources to keep them safe. community members. As cases and hospitalizations increase, we must remember: we have the tools we need to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Increased funding to support local county health departments through access to tests, masks and most of all – getting vaccinated and boosted – remain our best defenses against the virus and the Omicron variant. “

Counties participating in the statewide application of the mask-or-vax mandate will be eligible to apply for this additional assistance. Other cost funding is still available for all counties starting with a separate $ 65 million made available in September.

The announcement comes at a time when new cases are rising rapidly in a holiday wave and Gov. Hochul’s administration is responding with aggressive measures to keep hospitalizations and infections as low as possible.

Contributors to the recent increase include the Delta and Omicron variants of COVID-19 and the increase in indoor gatherings during the holiday season. Governor Hochul announced the deployment of more than 40 new vaccination pop-up sites in the state on Friday.

The administration is also working aggressively to increase test availability for New Yorkers, with tests conducted at mass vaccination sites, a new online testing portal soon to launch, and 10 million new test kits rolled out. in local health services by the end of January, including 5 million before New Year’s Day.

Governor Hochul had announced separate assistance of $ 65 million to counties in September to help with the rapid and reliable distribution of booster vaccines.

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