Today, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) and Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) sent a letter to Governor Kay Ivey, urging her to prioritize federal funding allocated to the state for public health purposes for Alabama’s smaller towns and counties fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The funding allocated to states and large localities under theCoronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is sorely needed as this public health crisis continues and the economic fallout intensifies,”the lawmakers wrote. “It is incumbent on our State to work with these local governments to identify gaps in our public health infrastructure and strategically allocate these funds to address their needs, including the widespread deployment of testing and contact tracing.”
The state was allocated $1.78 billion in federal funding from the Coronavirus Relief Fund under the CARES Act to help combat the coronavirus crisis. Alabama’s smaller, rural towns and counties, where health care is already scarce, face unique challenges during the pandemic, including access to testing, treatment and Personal Protective Equipment.
Sewell and Jones are continuing to work to secure additional funding in any future coronavirus aid packages to help local governments fight the COVID-19 public health crisis and economic fallout.
Text of Sewell and Jones’ letter to Ivey is below and linkedhere.
May 5, 2020
Dear Governor Ivey:
As the State of Alabama considers how to disburse the $1.78 billion allocated under the Coronavirus Relief Fund (“Fund”), I write to encourage you to prioritize public health assistance to our smaller towns and counties that are on the forefront of combatting the pandemic.
The funding allocated to states and large localities under theCoronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is sorely needed as this public health crisis continues and the economic fallout intensifies. Congress intended for these resources to be used for fighting the spread of the virus at every level, and this includes the deployment of funds to communities that do not meet the population threshold for direct allocations from the Fund. It is incumbent on our State to work with these local governments to identify gaps in our public health infrastructure and strategically allocate these funds to address their needs, including the widespread deployment of testing and contact tracing.
The local disbursement of these funds is especially critical for our historically underserved and rural communities. The COVID-19 outbreak has disproportionately impacted our towns and counties across Alabama’s Black Belt, and these localities have fewer resources to bolster their public health infrastructure. Stopping the spread of the virus is dependent on our most vulnerable populations having access to the services and information outlined under federal guidance for the Fund, and our local governments are well positioned to be a key partner in this fight if provided with adequate resources.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter, and I look forward to continuing to work with your office on a coordinated effort to combat the pandemic.