As New Jersey contends with coronavirus, Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker announced the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would reimburse the state $1.75 million for its response to the outbreak.
The senators were working to pass a supplemental package that would provide more than $8 billion in funding to combat the virus. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives March 4.
“The federal government has a responsibility to reimburse states, like New Jersey, that are devoting significant resources in order to respond to this public health emergency and protect the public. This funding is a great first step and I will continue working to ensure New Jersey receives the funding and resources it needs to combat the spread of the coronavirus,” said Sen. Menendez.
New Jersey Response
New Jersey developed a robust response effort to the virus, well prepared in comparison to the rest of the nation, according to the senators. The funding is in part expected to help offset costs related to the monitoring of travelers, including several patients who were tested and quarantined after being released from a cruise ship in Bayonne.
Additionally, the reimbursement would help bolster other coronavirus containment efforts, including funding for data management, lab equipment, supplies, staffing, shipping and infection control. Sen. Menendez applauded New Jersey’s response to the virus, and said the reimbursement and future funding would be vital.
Both senators pressed the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to increase passenger screenings at Newark International Airport, the fifth busiest in the nation. Additionally, both have called on President Trump to appoint a global health security specialist to the White House’s National Security Council to coordinate efforts to contain the virus.
Future Funding under National Bill
The national funding bill would provide additional federal funding to states fighting the disease. State agencies that are devoting resources towards personnel, lab equipment, and medical supplies in an effort to combat the coronavirus outbreak would be eligible for the funding.
Additionally, passage of the law would bolster CDC and National Institutes of Health efforts to beat the virus. Sen. Booker noted the disease was a “serious and sobering” threat, and appreciated the acknowledgement that New Jersey was on the front lines of fighting the virus.
“This federal funding is key as we work to support our state and local health departments, which are on the front lines of dealing with this threat” said Sen. Booker. “I’m pleased the CDC rightfully recognized that New Jersey is a state bearing one of the largest burdens of responding to this virus.”