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Maine DHHS to receive $6.5 million to 'fight COVID-19 and future pandemics'

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will provide the funding.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Editors note: The above video is a Nov. 9 report by NEWS CENTER Maine's Roslyn Flaherty about Maine schools dealing with a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services will receive $6.5 million from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent and control emerging diseases including COVID-19. 

The funding will be used for pandemic surveillance, detection, and response; prevention and intervention; and communications, coordination, and partnerships, U.S. Senator Angus King said Wednesday in a press release. 

"COVID-19 has affected every aspect of our society. We should do everything possible to not only address the existing pandemic but also ensure that we are prepared for the next public health crisis," King said. "These funds from the CDC will boost our efforts to defeat the pandemic once and for all, as well as build out the public health infrastructure needed to protect our people against any future threats to come."

The funding was awarded through the Centers for Disease Control's Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases program, which provides financial support and technical assistance to the nation's health departments to support their efforts to detect, prevent, and respond to emerging infectious diseases.

The ELC's Reopening Schools supplement supports COVID-19 screening testing so that schools can stay open safely for in-person learning. 

Maine DHHS and the Maine Department of Education submit their plan to the ELC. Maine's plan is to administer pooled PCR testing. The ELC reports that pooled PCR testing is an efficient way to test large groups of students and staff in schools on a weekly basis.