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Twelve New Jersey counties will share about $37 million in funding to continue their fight against the coronavirus.
The funding was announced Thursday by Gov. Phil Murphy who said the 12 counties are home to one third of the Garden State’s population. They cover a majority of South Jersey, portions of Central Jersey and the northwestern part of the state.
The counties receiving funding are Atlantic, Burlington, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Morris, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren. They did not qualify for direct federal CARES Act funds because their populations are below a half-million.
Murphy said counties overall are straining with the cost of the pandemic.
“In prioritizing the health of our residents, counties have taken on an overwhelming amount of unexpected expenses,” Murphy said.
The first $15.6 million will reimburse the counties for COVID-19 related expenses to date. Another $4.3 million will help counties maintain testing sites. And $17 million comes from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant to support ongoing testing of groups who are vulnerable or at high risk of being infected by the coronavirus.
The money will be available to the counties as soon as the agreements are signed.
Murphy also used the announcement in Hackettstown, Morris County, to urge the federal government to do more to support states.
“There’s no state in America that has enough money on its own to deal with this,” he said. “We need all of us — red and blue alike — need the federal government to step up.”
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