The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded $78 million to Arkansas to expand its testing capacity for COVID-19, according to a news release.


U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton — along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman — applauded the effort.


The funding is part of $11 billion from HHS to support nationwide testing for COVID-19 and the reopening of America. The investment will be used to develop, purchase, administer, process and analyze COVID-19 tests as well as contact tracing.


“Expanding our testing capability is necessary to combating the spread of COVID-19 and safely getting Arkansans back to work,” the lawmakers said. “These funds will be used to respond to this public health emergency and ensure individuals who have been in contact with infected patients are aware of their risk.”


Funding was made available with the support of the Arkansas Congressional Delegation’s approval of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act that was signed into law in April.