By Dave Williams
Capitol Beat News Service
ATLANTA – Georgia will draw down an additional $113 million in federal coronavirus relief to help nursing homes and other long-term care facilities cope with the pandemic, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Friday.
The funding comes to augment more than $36 million the state has received for 115 skilled nursing facilities since the COVID-19 outbreak began.
Of the $113 million announced Friday, $78 million will be used for nursing home staff testing.
“My top priority from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic has been to ensure the health and safety of our most vulnerable citizens,” Kemp said. “To protect the lives of these vulnerable Georgians against COVID-19, we have spared no expense.”
Nursing homes in Georgia have been hit particularly hard by coronavirus, with one of the worst initial hot spots for the virus occurring in elder-care facilities in Albany.
Early on, the state responded by deploying National Guard personnel to help control the spread of the virus in long-term care facilities. The state also supplied tens of thousands of testing materials, sent in additional staffing to facilities that needed help and shipped vital PPE (personal protective equipment) across the state.
The portion of the new $113 million allocations not going toward testing – about $35 million – will be used for staffing support at long-term care facilities through the rest of this year, the governor said.
“As Georgia continues to see cases, current hospitalizations, deaths and test positivity rates all decline, we must remain vigilant,” Kemp said. “This funding will prioritize the health, safety and quality of life of our state’s most vulnerable citizens and allow our state to continue to moving in the right direction in our fight against COVID-19.”