PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island will receive $70.4 million in federal funding to expand COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution, US Senator Jack Reed announced Monday.
The state Department of Health will get the money from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly $61 million will support the state’s COVID-19 testing capacity, contact tracing, and containment and mitigation efforts, while $9.5 million will bolster the state’s distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“This is a life-saving investment,” Reed said in a statement. “These funds will boost the state’s effort to ensure there is an efficient vaccine distribution in place as more doses become available.”
Reed, a Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, helped secure the funding as part of legislation that combined a $1.4 trillion appropriations bill to fund the federal government through September with $900 billion in emergency COVID-19 relief measures.
“The Trump administration spent two months fighting its election loss and not enough on vaccine distribution,” he said. “Now, we’ve got the chance to turn that around and expand testing capacity where it should be, and ramp up a well-coordinated vaccine distribution system.”
In Rhode Island, 59,259 people have received the first dose of the vaccine, while 14,735 others are fully vaccinated after receiving two doses, according to the Department of Health. But demand is far outpacing the supply of the vaccine.
Meanwhile, the death toll continues to mount, reaching 2,110 as of Monday. The number of positive cases now totals 111,754, and 347 people are now hospitalized with the virus.