Tester Announces More Than $5 Million for COVID-19 Testing in Montana

Tester pushed to include $25 billion for testing into this week’s interim pandemic relief package

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced $5,075,000 in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funds allocated through the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for Montana to help expand testing capacity in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

“In order for Montana to slow the spread of this virus and start to safely reopen our economy, we need to test, test, test,” said Tester. “This money is a good start, but the fact is the federal government needs to do a lot more to address the vast shortages of testing resources and critical protective equipment going to the states. Washington has obligations to Montana, and I’m going to keep pushing aggressively to make sure it delivers on them.”

The CDC will use existing networks to provide state and local jurisdictions access to this funding, which may be used for:

  • Establishing or enhancing the ability to aggressively identify cases, conduct contact tracing and follow up, as well as implement appropriate containment measures.
  • Improving morbidity and mortality surveillance.
  • Enhancing testing capacity.
  • Controlling COVID-19 in high-risk settings and protect vulnerable or high-risk populations.
  • Working with healthcare systems to manage and monitor system capacity.

Tester has been pushing hard to make sure rural health care workers and providers receive the resources they need in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Just this week, Tester helped push to include $25 billion to establish a testing and contact tracing program into the interim coronavirus relief package after Senator Mitch McConnell’s initial legislation proposed no money for health providers.

He has also been personally urging Vice President Mike Pence to ensure the federal government fulfills its obligation to address the shortages of badly-needed medical supplies, test kits, and personal protective equipment for Montana’s frontline health workers and urging the Administration to prioritize rural providers in allocating resources for health providers. He has led the charge in pushing the federal government to make full use of its powers under the Defense Production Act to centralize supply chains of critical resources.

Tester has been working tirelessly to ensure that Montana is prepared to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. After 72 hours negotiating substantial, bipartisan improvements to COVID-19 stimulus legislation that had previously fallen far short, Tester voted to deliver critical, urgent relief to Montana workers, families, small businesses, hospitals and others hardest hit by the outbreak. This funding includes $1.25 billion for the state of Montana.

Visit tester.senate.gov/coronavirusresources for a list of resources for Montanans during the COVID-19 outbreak