R.I. health centers to receive $3 million in federal funds for coronavirus testing, PPE

PROVIDENCE, R.I (WLNE) – U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D – Rhode Island)  announced on Friday that Rhode Island community health centers will receive additional aid of $3.65 million in federal funds.

These funds will be used to help the health centers expand novel coronavirus testing throughout the state.

The money will also help with the procurement and administration of tests, including the purchase of personal protective gear (PPE), lab services, public outreach, and training for staff. As well as expand walk-up testing capabilities.

“Testing is the key to any reopening efforts.  We need to keep ramping up testing and contact tracing to help keep everyone safe.  Community health centers are on the frontlines of that effort and this federal funding will provide them with an injection of cash to do more testing,” said Reed.

Providence Community Health Centers will receive just over $1 million of the funding. The CEO of the organization is looking to use the money to open another testing site in Providence.

“Hopefully by June 1st we can have another site up if we can find a location,” said Merrill Thomas, CEO of Providence Community Health Centers.

He hopes to secure enough testing kits to be able to test asymptomatic people.

“At some point we’d like to test all the school kids, child care workers, and all the other people who want to get back to work,” said Thomas.

Staff from Providence Community Health Centers will also test any homeless residents residing at Crossroads starting Monday.

“The homeless population is a group that’s probably not social distancing or have a place to isolate or quarantine. So, we’re going to test all the people who live at the Crossroads tower,” said Thomas.

The staff at Crossroads will also be tested.

The funding is administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which is distributing $583 million to 1,385 HRSA-funded health centers across the country, and eight U.S territories.

The health centers in Rhode Island receiving funds are:

Providence Community Health Centers: $1,007,419

Thundermist Health Center: $869,404

Blackstone Valley Community Health Care: $418,324

Northwest Community Health Centers: $346,744

Comprehensive Community Action: $340,609

East Bay Community Action Program: $257,299

Tri-County Community Action Agency: $219,844

Wood River Health Services: $199,069

©WLNE-TV/ABC6 2020

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Politics, Rhode Island