Omaha-area health department gets $13M to fight COVID-19

Published: Jun. 24, 2020 at 11:32 AM CDT
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The Douglas County Board has allocated more than $13 million of federal coronavirus relief funding to the county health department, which serves Nebraska’s largest city of Omaha.

Among the funding approved Tuesday is $1.3 million for a mass vaccination program in the region as soon as a vaccine is available. Another $4.9 million would be made available if needed for that effort.

Douglas County Health Director Adi Pour said it makes sense to allocate the money now for mass vaccination — even though there is currently no vaccine for the virus — so that health officials can hit the ground running as soon as a vaccine is available. The department can begin preparing by buying medical equipment and supplies and having money available for extra nurses, doctors and other staff when a vaccine becomes available, Pour said. The money could also be used to set up drive-through vaccination clinics and mobile neighborhood vaccine vans.

The allocation comes as new coronavirus cases in the U.S. have surged to their highest level in two months. In Nebraska, health officials confirmed another 135 new coronavirus cases and seven more deaths on Tuesday. The state’s online tracking portal shows more than 18,000 cases and 256 deaths have been confirmed since the pandemic began.

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