(Washington, D.C) – Today, Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick, Raúl M. Grijalva, and Tom O’Halleran, sent a letter to Governor Doug Ducey urging the state to distribute federal COVID-19 relief funds to local jurisdictions for the purpose of testing its residents for COVID-19.
Pima County has set up a robust COVID testing system – since the pandemic began, the County has spent more than $50 million on testing. With the rise of the Delta variant in Arizona, Pima County has been forced to increase its testing numbers significantly. The state has declined to reimburse Pima County testing operations during peak periods.
“As you know, testing is a critical component in helping to ease and eventually end this pandemic. Unfortunately, this is not the first time we have raised concerns with your office,” wrote the lawmakers.
Congress provided $847 million in Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases (ELC) for the state of Arizona. The federal funding was allocated to states to disperse amongst local health departments for COVID-19 testing and prevention needs at the local level.
However, only a small portion of the federal ELC funds has been allocated to localities. In the letter, the lawmakers request more information regarding the denial of reimbursement for Pima County’s testing operations and the state’s intended use of funds moving forward, including what percent the state intends to allocate and what equity assessments have been conducted.
“Congress appropriated millions of dollars for counties like Pima County to access testing resources and we implore you to distribute these funds quickly,” wrote the lawmakers.
The full text of the letter can be found below and HERE.