COVID-19 Funding for Vulnerable Delawareans and DHSS Health Care Professionals at 24/7 Facilities
WILMINGTON, DE (STL.News) Governor John Carney, Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long and the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) on Tuesday announced almost $17 million in financial support for Delawareans impacted by the COVID-19 emergency, as well as health care professionals at DHSS’ 24/7 facilities.
The new support, which also will expand COVID vaccinations and testing, and provide housing assistance for vulnerable Delawareans, is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). ARPA was championed in Congress by members of Delaware’s congressional delegation – Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester – and signed into law by President Joe Biden in 2021.
“It’s been two years since we saw our first COVID-19 case in Delaware. Our dedicated teams at the Department of Health and Social Services have been on the frontlines of our battle against the virus. These ARPA investments will continue building on their great work in responding and mitigating the virus across our state,” said Governor Carney. “We have provided significant funding to DHSS because of the tremendous dedication, sacrifice and innovation of our public health professionals. Thank you to Senator Carper, Senator Coons and Representative Blunt Rochester for their advocacy and efforts on the American Rescue Plan Act that will help Delaware recover from this pandemic.”
“The pandemic has affected all Delawareans, but some communities have been hit particularly hard and are still struggling to recover. The heart of the American Rescue Plan is to help those folks who have borne the brunt of this battle,” said U.S. Senator Tom Carper. “I applaud Governor Carney and Secretary Magarik for directing these vital funds to take care of our most vulnerable Delawareans and those who serve them.”
“A year after The American Rescue Plan Act passed and went to President Biden’s desk, it continues to provide critical funding for our state to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and build our communities’ resiliency,” said U.S. Senator Coons. “I’m grateful for the unwavering dedication from DHSS, Governor Carney, and the entire congressional delegation in doing everything possible to support pandemic relief efforts.”
“The almost $17 million in funding announced today for DHSS is another example of how the historic American Rescue Plan Act, which I voted for and was passed one year ago this week, continues to provide much-need support to Delawareans in need,” said Congresswoman Blunt Rochester. “Ensuring that our most vulnerable Delawareans have the resources they need – retention payments, housing, vaccines, etc. – continues to be of the utmost importance to me, and I commend Governor Carney and DHSS for staying committed to this mission throughout the First State to help us recover from this pandemic.”
“These funds address the true intent of ARPA where they will have the greatest impact by helping homebound citizens, childcare centers, homeless individuals and our health and social services workers on the frontlines fighting COVID. As we continue to recover from COVID, we will provide vaccines to homebound persons, expand testing to childcare centers, work on retaining our health workforce, and provide housing supports to those impacted by the pandemic,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, Ph.D., R.N. “As a nurse, I have witnessed firsthand the bravery and dedication of our health care workforce and I want to thank the Congressional leaders for the funds. These much needed federal funds are going to directly help those who need help the most. That is how we will continue to build a stronger, healthier, equitable state.”
“As we begin this chapter of recovery, we are grateful to the Governor and the congressional delegation for their continued support of Delawareans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said DHSS Secretary Molly Magarik. “Too many individuals and families remain vulnerable in our state, including those in low-income communities, people of color, and older Delawareans and individuals with disabilities. This round of federal funding will help meet their ongoing needs and also support DHSS in retaining critical direct-care workforce in our 24/7 facilities, who care for vulnerable Delawareans with compassion and dedication every day.”
The new round of ARPA-funded projects related to DHSS includes:
- Retention payments ($6.7 million): In response to the shortage of health care workers in Delaware and nationwide, DHSS is providing quarterly retention payments to RNs, LPNs, CNAs and other direct-care staff at its 24/7 facilities.
- Housing assistance ($6 million): To keep hundreds of Delaware families impacted by the crisis in motels and hotels and other temporary housing services, this funding will allow more families to begin the transition from emergency housing to permanent housing.
- COVID testing in child care centers ($1.5 million): In partnership with the Delaware Department of Education, funding will provide for COVID-19 testing at early childhood development and education centers. Quidel, which has provided rapid antigen testing at Delaware’s K-12 schools beginning in 2021, will expand its services to child care centers.
- Housing for vulnerable pregnant women ($1.5 million): The Division of Public Health will support a housing model with wraparound services to serve pregnant women who housing insecure.
- Homebound COVID vaccine hotline ($1.1 million): For older Delawareans and individuals with disabilities who have difficulty accessing COVID-19 vaccine locations, DHSS is expanding its existing program, which delivers vaccines to people who are homebound, in partnership with independent pharmacies, pharmacist contractors, and nursing students and their supervisors. Delawareans can be assessed for an at-home vaccine or booster by calling DHSS’ toll-free hotline at 1-888-491-4988.
- Emergency supplies for families ($194,000): For families enrolled in home visiting programs, contractors through the Division of Public Health will provide emergency supplies, including face masks, hand sanitizer, no-touch thermometers, diapers, infant formula, food and water.