Bennet Announces Nearly $160 Million to Help Colorado Boost Contact Tracing Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Denver – Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet announced nearly $160 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for Colorado to develop, purchase, administer, process, and analyze Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) tests, trace contacts, and related activities. 

“Increasing testing and contact tracing efforts is critical to saving lives and safely reopening our state’s economy. I applaud the CDC for sending this money and will continue working hard to ensure Colorado has the resources and capabilities to test, treat, and respond to this public health crisis,” said Bennet. “These federal funds will help accelerate testing and contact tracing efforts throughout the state. The public health and economic challenges before us are not unsolvable, but we have to meet the moment with ideas as big at the problem we face. In order to do that, we need steady leadership and strategic coordination between federal, state, and local government. With states beginning to relax stay-at-home orders and other social distancing protocols, a comprehensive coronavirus testing and contact tracing plan is essential to prevent a second wave of COVID-19 from overwhelming the health care system and further damaging the economy.”  

These funds from CDC will be directed to states, localities, and territories to develop, purchase, administer, process, and analyze COVID-19 tests, conduct surveillance, trace contacts, and related activities. Each jurisdiction will receive the funding no later than May 23, 2020, through CDC’s existing Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infection Diseases (ELC) cooperative agreement. In conjunction with optimizing testing and increasing test volumes for COVID-19, resources will support the establishment of modernized public health surveillance systems and processes capable of reporting data on a daily, automated basis to state and federal health systems. These systems will support the public health response to COVID-19 and lay the foundation for the future of public health surveillance. 

Earlier this month, Bennet helped secure additional testing funds in the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, also known as COVID 3.5. Under the COVID 3.5 law, $11 billion in federal testing funds are directed to states and $14 billion goes to federal agencies including the CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support research, development, and deployment of tests, as well as a $1 billion set aside to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing for uninsured patients and another $750 million allocated through the Indian Health Service.