NM Delegation Announces Over $77 Million for COVID-19 Testing and Contact Tracing

First wave of funding is part of the $25 billion national testing fund that the New Mexico delegation supported to help stop the pandemic and enable safe and sustainable reopening of economic and social activities; Funding arrives as the State of New Mexico, a national leader in per capita COVID-19 testing, is expanding testing availability for New Mexicans free of charge

WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), along with U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.), announced that the state of New Mexico will receive over $77 million for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The funds are from the $25 billion for national testing and contact tracing, funding for national health care providers and hospitals and small business relief package that Congress passed in April.

The $77,283,762 in funding will arrive in the state as the New Mexico Department of Health is expanding testing statewide and free of charge for New Mexicans with 64 testing sites in each of the state’s 33 counties. Significantly expanded testing to identify positive cases and tracing those individuals’ contacts so that they can self-isolate is essential to stopping the spread of COVID-19 and enabling safe and sustainable reopening of the economy and social activities.

“We cannot rebuild our economy or return to normal life safely without drastically expanded testing and contact tracing across the country,” said Udall. “Thanks to our state leadership, New Mexico has been out in front on testing, and I was proud to fight alongside Senate Democrats and the New Mexico delegation to secure the national resources we need to bolster our state’s public health capabilities to operate at the needed capacity. Although I am glad that Congress is providing these resources, the lack of organization, coordination and execution from the Trump administration is unacceptable. By failing to release detailed national guidance, the administration is making it more difficult for our schools, economy and society to safely and successfully reopen. Moving forward, I will continue to push for the resources needed to reopen safely and sustainably and to support our brave and dedicated health professionals who are on the front lines of this crisis.”

“Until we have developed proven treatments and a vaccine, scaling up a comprehensive and coordinated nationwide testing infrastructure is the only way for us to give Americans peace of mind and assurance that it is actually safe to reopen the country,” said Heinrich. “I am proud that New Mexico has been a national leader in securing supplies and expanding testing in all of our communities. This federal funding that we fought hard for in negotiations will help our state continue important work to trace and contain the spread of this virus. But to get to the level of testing public health experts say we need to achieve, the president must do so much more to meet the federal government's responsibility as the facilitator of manufacturing and supply chains. I will keep doing everything in my power to demand a responsible path forward that includes a public health response that is rooted science and ensures economic security for all New Mexico families.”

“Comprehensive and widespread COVID-19 testing and contact tracing is critical to combatting the virus. New Mexico has been a national leader on expanding testing availability – free of charge – as a critical component of responding to this crisis. While the Trump administration has failed to develop a national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our state leaders and the delegation have responded with urgency,” said Luján. “I am glad that this $77 million in funding will go towards expanding testing and contact tracing across New Mexico, and I will continue to fight for more funding to bolster our public health response.”

“Testing and contact tracing are key to ensuring New Mexico workers can return to their jobs, children can get back in the classroom, and life can begin to return to its usual pace. Though New Mexico is ahead of the game on testing and contact tracing, it’s clear that the Trump Administration’s failure to get broad testing off the ground has caused heartbreak and economic stress for our families. This new funding that we worked to get will help our state stay a leader in stopping the spread of coronavirus, so our communities can begin the long road of recovery from this public health emergency,” said Haaland.

Expanded testing that reaches every corner of New Mexico is instrumental to keeping our families safe, protecting frontline workers, and safely reopening our economy. With the expanded testing capacity, we also need coordinated contact tracing in place so that New Mexico can stop the spread of COVID-19. This $77 million in funding will support New Mexico Department of Health’s efforts to make free testing available and ensure tracing is data-driven. I remain committed to working closely with our local officials to ensure this relief reaches central and southern New Mexico,” said Torres Small.