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UCFS received federal grant to assist with COVID-19 response

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Norwich — Prior to Friday’s passage of the $2 trillion federal aid package in response to the COVID-19 crisis, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded two federal grants totaling $129,195 to two eastern Connecticut health centers, including $63,751 to United Community and Family Services.

The funds will be used by the UCFS health services to purchase laptops and telephones for staff to do tele-medicine checks on patients, to work from home, UCFS President Jennifer Granger said Friday. Some of the grant funding will be used to purchase personal protective equipment, if UCFS can find masks, gloves and protective clothing in high demand by health care workers nationwide, Granger said. The grant also will pay for staff hours for workers redeployed to work exclusively on COVID-19 response.

UCFS has done some COVID-19 testing, Granger said, and is doing wellness checks on every patient entering the agency’s health facilities. The agency’s dental program now is restricted to emergencies only, and behavioral health services and many primary care services are being done through tele-care, Granger said.

The federal grants were dispersed through the HHS Health Resources and Services Administration. In addition to UCFS, Generations Family Health Center Inc. in Willimantic will receive $65,444 in federal funding through the program.

““Our health care professionals are working on the front lines of this pandemic in health centers and clinics,” U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, said in a news release announcing the funding. “They’re keeping our eastern Connecticut communities safe and healthy, and we’ve got to keep working together to support them.”

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