Missouri health department receiving $19M+ in federal pandemic aid

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is receiving more than $19.1 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to a Friday announcement from FEMA.

Separately, the state is also using federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding to expand rapid COVID-19 saliva testing technology.

The FEMA money for reimbursing eligible COVID-19 response effort expenses is being provided through a FEMA grant program - available because of the major disaster declaration approved for Missouri on March 26 by President Donald Trump.

The Public Assistance Program grants have the federal government pick up 75 percent of covered expenses.

DHSS' federal grant will help reimburse costs of providing personal protective equipment - masks, gloves, goggles, gowns - to essential workers statewide, as well as ventilators for patients. The costs were incurred between Jan. 20 and Aug. 12 and total more than $25.5 million.

Washington University in St. Louis is also receiving more than $1.1 million from FEMA to pay for PPE and medical supplies.

Washington University and San Francisco-based biotechnology company Fluidigm Corporation partnered to develop a rapid saliva test that in August received emergency approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Gov. Mike Parson announced this week the state had purchased four machines needed for the saliva tests, and they would be distributed regionally - one each for the southwest, southeast and central regions and Kansas City, in addition to the machine already at Washington University.

The machines from Fluidigm together cost more than $878,000. Coupled with installation, post-warranty maintenance costs and training, the total comes to more than $1 million, according to figures from Parson's office.

Kelli Jones, communications director of Parson's office, said CARES Act money was used.