BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott on Wednesday announced the city will invest $80 million into the city’s health department over the next four years. The investment will finance and expand the department’s ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The move is the first in a series of investment announcements for the city’s $641 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.

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The mayor said the investment will provide:

  • COVID-19 testing expansion: Funding for tens of thousands of at-home tests and dedicated testing staff;
  • Personal Protective Equipment: Funding for the purchase, management and storage of PPE;
  • Telehealth infrastructure: Funding to help modernize “much outdated” systems of Baltimore City healthcare clinics;
  • Contact Tracing: Support for 120 contact tracers and supervisors;
  • Expand Vaccination Effort: Funding for an immunization office to coordinate and increase vaccination rates in vulnerable communities and for a mobile vaccination team of 24 to reach all areas of the city;
  • Elder Care: Funding for additional caseworkers and social workers to protect senior citizens from violence and abuse that has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
  • Combatting Food Insecurity: Funding to support home delivery boxes and grab-and-go meals to keep seniors, people with disabilities, and vulnerable residents fed during the pandemic

“As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, the public health of Baltimore residents is my top priority,” Mayor Scott said. “Increasing testing, vaccinations, and telehealth services to Baltimoreans, particularly in our neighborhoods that need them most, will allow us to continue to keep our residents safe, healthy, and alive.”

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Mayor Scott made the announcement in front of the Health and Services building at Coppin State University, where the city was holding a free vaccine clinic.

For more information, visit the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs website at arp.baltimorecity.gov. This page will be updated frequently with the latest information.

 

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CBS Baltimore Staff