The Houston Health Department (HHD) requests City Council approval of an ordinance authorizing the Director of the City of Houston Health Department to accept a grant award from the U.S. Department of Human Services, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for Public Health Crisis Response. The budget and project period are from March 16, 2020 through March 15, 2021. The grant award amount is $5,000,000.00. Cash matching funds are not required.
HHD also requests City Council authorize the Mayor to execute all related contracts, agreements and documents with the approval of the City Attorney in connection with the grant award and to authorize the Director or his designee to act as the City’s representative with the authority to apply for, accept and expend the grant funds if and as awarded, and to accept and expend all subsequent supplemental awards, if any, and to extend the term and/or budget and project period not to exceed five years, if extended by the CDC during the project period and does not require cash matching funds.
The grant will enhance the ability to respond to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by enabling HHD to conduct quarantine, isolation and wrap around support services including:
- Arrange alternate care sties to provide care for persons under investigation or persons with COVID 19.
- Provide contingency housing for confirmed cases who cannot be isolated at home or in a medical facility.
- Provide behavioral/mental health support services to ensure the ability to comply with quarantine and/or isolation orders.
- Increase staff to provide administrative support for 3 shifts, around the clock, to support testing needs.
- Purchase equipment and supplies needed for testing.
This grant will also support Houston Fire Department in providing:
- Information Sharing.
The grant will also enable HHD to increase its capacity to support the local response to COVID-19 by adding staffing to perform public health surveillance, epidemiology/informatics duties, laboratory testing and nursing activities.
HHD has been closely monitoring the emergence of 2019 novel Coronavirus and related COVID-19 disease since late January. The Incident Management System and Incident Command System (ICS) organization was activated in Houston on February 16, 2020. Currently, several City of Houston departments and partner agencies are contributing significant resources and personnel to support local preparedness and response activities. There are identified needs and gaps in services that would be required to support any necessary expansion of this public health response. Funding is needed to support all aspects of the local response, including: public health preparedness and response efforts; public health surveillance, epidemiology, laboratory testing, and quarantining costs. Funding from this grant will support a rapid mobilized response to the surge needs arising from the COVID 19 that exceeds the capacity of jurisdictional public health resources.
No Fiscal Note is required on grant items
Stephen L. Williams, M.Ed., M.P.A.
Director, Houston Health Department