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Two area health care centers will receive more than half a million dollars each to support ongoing Covid-19 and primary health infrastructure needs, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources.

According to the report, $588,759 will go to Catahoula Parish Hospital District 2 in Sicily Island and $536,113 to Tensas Community Health Center in St. Joseph.

Statewide, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), has awarded $21,277,310 in American Rescue Plan funding to 33 health centers in Louisiana to expand their primary health care infrastructure in medically underserved communities.

Additionally, to bolster their efforts combatting COVID-19 locally, according to the report, health center recipients in Louisiana may also use this funding to secure freezers to store COVID-19 vaccines, purchase mobile vans to better reach and vaccinate marginalized communities, or construct, renovate or expand their facilities so they are better equipped for future pandemics or public health challenges.

In total, this funding will support 50 health center projects in Louisiana.

"Health centers are lifelines for many of our most vulnerable families across the country, especially amidst the pandemic,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Thanks to American Rescue Plan funds, we’re modernizing facilities across the country to better meet the most pressing public health challenges associated with COVID-19. This historic investment means we get to expand access to care for COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccination – all with an eye towards advancing equity.”

Nationwide, HRSA awarded nearly $1 billion to nearly 1,300 health centers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories.

According to Health and Human Services, the funds were awarded to health centers that serve medically underserved and other vulnerable populations and communities, which are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and other health conditions. More than 91 percent of the nearly 29 million health center patients are individuals or families living at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines and nearly 63 percent are racial/ethnic minorities.

“HRSA-funded health centers play a vital role in the local community response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said HRSA Acting Administrator Diana Espinosa. “Investing in health center construction and modernization will significantly increase access to affordable, high quality primary health care services in underserved communities across the nation.”

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