Drive-up COVID-19 screening at St. Luke's

Ashley Layton, an LPN at St. Luke’s hospital in Meridian, prepares to administer a test for COVID-19 at a drive-up screening set up in the hospital parking lot, Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is sending $56 million to Idaho to expand the state's COVID-19 testing capability. The funding, from the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, will help pay for testing as well as contact tracing. Idaho's $56 million is part of a larger $10.25 billion initiative spearheaded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help reopen states, according to a press release from Health and Human Services; you can read our full story here online, or pick up today's edition of the Idaho Press.

"Jurisdictions will use the funding they receive to meet the testing goals laid out in their COVID-19 testing plans, including purchasing supplies (such as test kits and other testing supplies, as necessary)," according to an HHS news release. Nearby states are receiving similar amounts to help provide testing for their populations: Montana is in line to receive $49 million; Wyoming will be receiving $50 million.

The state of Idaho is working on a plan for its COVID-19 testing. In late April, Gov. Brad Little announced that he had named a public-private task force to set criteria for when and how often people should be tested as well as centralizing testing data collection.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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