COLUMBUS – Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville) 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.
“The at-home rapid tests which the Controlling Board approved for purchase are sorely needed by Ohioans in order to ensure the safety of our homes, schools, and places of work. I am also pleased to see that funding from the federal government will go towards public health pandemic response efforts to reduce health disparities among Ohio's most vulnerable communities,” said Rep. Lightbody.
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.