After million-dollar giveaways and free scholarships, Ohio is spending another $173 million to beat back COVID-19 and clear the path for a next-to-normal year. It’s not clear exactly where the money will go — but local health workers already have plans.
House Bill 170, which Gov. Mike DeWine signed on June 2, allocated $787 million to provide COVID-19 relief for schools and $173 million to the Ohio Department of Health “for COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution efforts,” per the governor’s office.
Kate Schroder, who focuses on COVID-19 measures at the Cincinnati-based Health Collaborative, is excited for what a portion of that money could do locally.
“We do need to have flexible resources and cash that can go towards those efforts that do make the biggest difference,” Schroder said.
To her mind, that category includes testing, contact tracing and helping groups like hers upgrade websites that connect vaccine-seekers with appointments.
“(This is a chance) to really listen to the community and be responsive,” Schroder said. “More (testing) at libraries, YMCAs, rec centers, Reds games, down out at the DORA.”
A spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Health said the funding will be divvied up throughout the state, meaning it’s not possible to predict how much might go to any particular city, country or organization.