Tester Secures Nearly $2 Million for Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services Laboratory Testing

Funding will help the state lab process COVID-19 tests, continue providing testing and immunization assistance

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced that the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (MT DPHHS) Laboratory will receive $1,949,173 to continue providing public health education, testing and immunization assistance to the state, including supporting the state’s surveillance, detection, and response of COVID-19 tests.

The grant funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and can be used by the Montana Public Health Laboratory to cover operating costs, provide immunization assistance, screen newborns, and process tests for infectious diseases. The lab will be able to use this funding to support their current large-scale coronavirus testing efforts.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has proven how critical it is that we bolster our state’s public health capabilities,” said Tester. “Right now, Montana’s lab is processing thousands of coronavirus tests every day, and on top of that, they still have to keep up with their regular operations involving screenings, immunizations, and other testing. This funding will help ensure the lab can get folks tested in a safe and timely manner during this public health crisis.”

The Montana Public Health Laboratory operates under MT DPHHS and helps the state provide state-of-the-art test methods for diagnosis of infectious diseases or intentional biologic or chemical threats; newborn screening for genetic and metabolic disorders, including short term follow-up; technical assistance and consultation in appropriate test selection, specimen requirements, and test interpretation; aggregated results of specific laboratory tests for statewide surveillance; and training and continuing education opportunities.

Tester has worked tirelessly to bolster public health in Montana and expand testing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He recently secured nearly $1 million for Montana health care workforce training, and announced nearly $50 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to help Montana expand testing capacity. He also secured $3 million for 14 Montana community health centers to expand COVID-19 testing, and he delivered nearly $200 million in relief funding for 121 rural Montana hospitals, health centers, and clinics.

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