PROVIDENCE (AP) – Rhode Island has received a federal grant of $ 81.7 million for the state health department to build a new public health laboratory.
The Rhode Island Congressional delegation announced the new Federal Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Grant. They say the current facility, commissioned in 1978, has insufficient laboratory space, inadequate building systems, and broken equipment, and the state is spending more than $ 500,000 a year to have it. continues to operate effectively.
State health labs are working to investigate and mitigate potentially fatal diseases, including COVID-19, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Ebola, H1N1, and Zika. Last year, when commercial testing services were not yet widely available, the number of COVID-19 samples that could be tested was limited due to insufficient laboratory space, the delegation said.
“COVID-19 has revealed a serious gap in our healthcare infrastructure. This new federal funding will help Rhode Island close this gap and create a new cutting edge laboratory for the 21st century, ”US Senses Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and US Representatives Jim Langevin and David Cicilline said in a statement. joint statement.
State health laboratories also work with state and municipal agencies to ensure the safety of drinking water and food, monitor water and air pollution, and assist with public safety and investigations. criminals through police training, DNA testing and drug identification.