BALTIMORE — Baltimore’s share of the federal pandemic relief money is a whopping $641 million, and Mayor Brandon Scott says the first priority will be preserving the public health.
“The Baltimore City Health Department will receive $80 million over the next four years for the fight against COVID-19 and beyond,” said Scott.
It is like a wish list come true.
Money to purchase tens of thousands of COVID-19 tests, to hire 120 contact tracers and to set up an immunization office and mobile vaccination team to reach the most vulnerable and hesitant communities.
“These staff will additionally be trained to outreach families with children between the ages of five and eleven, and subsequently those under five once vaccine eligibility formally expands,” said City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa.
The money also will pay to provide 20,000 fresh meals per month to feed those who would otherwise go without.
It’s the first installment of an ambitious plan, which the mayor says will come with accountability to match.
“When you think about Baltimore’s history with federal dollars, we know that is has not always been a pretty picture,” acknowledged Scott. “and this is why we set up the Office of Recovery Programs so that we will not have those things happen on my watch.”
As for the remaining federal funds, the mayor says he will announce more investments in the future, including violence prevention.