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Mississippi to receive $6.5 million from CDC to boost efforts against COVID-19

U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R), of Brookhaven, announced Thursday that Mississippi will receive more than $6.5 million to build its COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and containment capacities as the nation takes steps to safely reopen the U.S. economy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding from the from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will help Mississippi boost its infections disease response capabilities, which will help inform decisions on protecting the public while taking action to emerge from shut-down orders.

“Effective containment of the coronavirus will rely on more testing and tracing. The CDC is providing resources to states to use public health systems to accelerate this process, which will help move us to a point where we can safely reopen our economy,” said Hyde-Smith, who serves on Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee.

The funding, the second CDC award to Mississippi this month, may be used to enhance test capacity, control high-risk settings to protect vulnerable populations, monitor healthcare system capacity and other actions.

Earlier this week, Hyde-Smith joined Sen. John Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) and others to urge the CDC and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to maximize existing reportable infectious disease framework to trace COVID-19 to determine and log who has developed antibodies to novel coronavirus and track who may be immune.

In a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D., the Senators contend this data will be pivotal in determining when, where, and how to safely reopen the economy.

“This type of information is critical to protect patients, workers and higher risk populations (such as those who are older or those with co- morbidities).  Employment and social interaction rules can be dynamically adjusted to benefit the employee, workplace productivity, public health and stability, while containing the spread of disease,” the senators wrote.  “To expeditiously begin this process, existing capabilities at HHS and the CDC should be expanded and used, while states and territories build up their own detection and surveillance infrastructure.  These systems are governed by robust privacy laws.  We urge you to build on the CDC and states existing systems so that this work can be completed as quickly and efficiently as possible.  To begin to restore our economy, we the undersigned believe this work must begin now.”