MONTGOMERY — Gov. Kay Ivey announced Monday that $30 million of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act money will be used to create COVID-19 testing and safety development programs.
Two programs, Testing for Alabama and Stay Safe Together, will be supported by the funds. The programs will be established by a partnership between the Alabama Department of Public Health and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
According to the release, Alabama received $1.9 billion of federal CARES Act funds to help combat the coronavirus pandemic.
“The agreement between the state of Alabama, the Alabama Department of Public Health and UAB is exactly the type of public-private partnership that is needed to adequately respond to the COVID-19 crisis,” Ivey said. “We will only be able to acquire critical, life-saving resources by working together. Living with the coronavirus is our ‘new normal,’ and I appreciate the combined efforts to ensure that as we get back to our daily routines, we can do so safely as well as helping our valued researchers gain new information to combat this disease.”
According to the release, “Testing for Alabama will create a consortium of entities, led by UAB, that will work with the Alabama Department of Public Health, to establish and support a broad, robust re-entry testing platform focused primarily of Alabama’s public institutions of higher education and two-year colleges.
“This will give all universities in the state a chance to set a baseline as students return, enabling institutions to better identify hotspots and potential COVID-19 problems on campuses through sentinel testing throughout the 2020-2021 school year.”
Stay Safe Together is a “COVID-19 notification app” being developed by UAB that will allow individuals to log health status and symptoms related to coronavirus. It is backed by Google and Apple technology that can “anonymously alert someone if they are at risk from being in proximity to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic is going to continue at least into the fall and early winter, and the Alabama Department of Public Health wants to ensure we are doing everything we can to give our state the best opportunity to navigate the crisis as safely and effectively as possible,” said Dr. Scott Harris, state health officer and co-chair of Testing for Alabama.
“This free testing opportunity for all public college students will enable our state universities to have their finger on the pulse of what the prevalence of this infection is among their student body as they return and, over time, gives them the ability to monitor any change.”