NASHVILLE — Hamilton County's COVID-19 testing will be expanded as a result of a half-million-dollar federal grant, state Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, announced Tuesday.
The grant, awarded by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Adminstration, is providing $318,919 to the Chattanooga Hamilton County Hospital Authority, which is in charge of Erlanger Health System and the hospital's health centers.
The remaining $192,349 goes to the Hamilton County Department of Health.
"COVID-19 testing is extremely important in slowing the spread of this virus, especially when a large amount of cases are from asymptomatic individuals," Gardenhire said in a statement. "Tennessee has aggressively tested throughout the state and it is important our local testing centers have the resources to continue offering tests to all our citizens."
Gardenhire thanked the state's congressional delegation "for their help securing these funds."
Hamilton County testing for the potentially deadly infection initially lagged behind other major metropolitan areas but has since accelerated.
The money comes from Congress' Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, signed into law by President Donald Trump on April 24. Besides providing funding for small businesses and individuals financially affected by COVID-19, the law provides grants for hospitals and other healthcare providers by seeking to boost testing their capabilities to help track the spread and impact of the coronavirus.
Tennessee National Guard to fly over downtown Chattanooga, other major cities in a salute to health care workers