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Rep. Sykes announces $175 million in funding to reduce COVID-19 health disparities, improve testing services and education outcomes

January 31, 2022
Emilia Strong Sykes News

COLUMBUS – Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) announced that the state Controlling Board approved several major items this week, including $150 million to increase testing services and the availability of at-home rapid tests. Additionally, $17 million has been approved to aid with pandemic response efforts and to reduce COVID-19 health disparities. Ohio has faced a surge in demand for COVID-19 relief support as hospitalizations around the state continue to rise. 

“These COVID-19 relief funds will make a monumental impact to support Ohio’s most vulnerable communities that have been hit hardest by this pandemic. It is essential that we continue to work together to ensure that our community maintains broad access to the resources needed to avoid exasperating health disparities.” said Rep. Sykes. “Additionally, by increasing access to testing and making at-home tests more available, we are keeping our community safer and limiting everyday disruptions as we continue the fight to end this pandemic.”

The Controlling Board also approved $7.2 million in COVID-19 relief funds to address the educator shortage and students’ chronic absences as a result of the pandemic.

Additional approved items include:

•  $1 million to assist the Minority Health Commission in the usage of the State Opioid Response Program;

•  $2.8 million to help cover non-federal costs in approved projects under FEMA Public assistance programs;

•  $3.8 million to operate the Medicaid Customer Service Hotline and Enrollment Program;

•  $120,000 to conduct a precautionary forensic and security assessment of the unemployment system;

•  $350,000 to expand outreach of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services’ Crisis Text Line.