Minnesota could see $5.9M in federal grants to combat H1N1

Minnesota hospitals and public health departments could receive over $5.9 million in federal grants to respond to the H1N1 flu outbreak and prepare for the fall flu season.

Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced the funding today.

The statement comes one day after a national summit on the H1N1 virus. The grants were funded by a supplemental appropriations bill signed into law two weeks ago.

"With flu season around the corner, we must remain vigilant and do all we can to prepare our nation and protect public health," Sebelius said. "These grants will give states valuable resources to step up their flu preparedness efforts."

Minnesota could receive about $4.4 million in Public Health Emergency Response grants and about $1.5 million in Hospital Preparedness grants. Three Minnesotans, all with underlying medical conditions, are reported to have died after contracting the H1N1 virus.

Public Health Emergency Response grants help state public health departments prepare for potential vaccination campaigns, implement strategies to reduce people's exposure to the H1N1 flu, and improve influenza surveillance and investigations.

Hospital Preparedness grants provide funding for hospitals and health care systems to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies.

A total of $260 million in Public Health Emergency Response Grants and $90 million in Hospital Preparedness grants will be distributed nationwide.

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