The New Jersey Department of Health last week announced $32.3 million in federal funding to 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,” said Health Commissioner Judith M. Persichilli. “These funds will provide health departments with more resources to identify, track and address local outbreaks quickly.”

Health departments in all counties across the state, 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 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.

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.