For Immediate Release
Date: Oct. 15, 2020
Contact: Tom McGuire, Director of Communications/Media Relations
Columbia County to Partner with Bloomsburg University for COVID testing kits
BLOOMSBURG—At its meeting on Thursday, Oct. 15, the Columbia County Commissioners Chris Young, Rich Ridgway, and David Kovach approved a formal agreement with Bloomsburg University to utilize a portion of the county’s COVID-19 County Relief Block Grant (CRBG) money for the purchase of rapid test cartridges for testing for the coronavirus. The county will then provide those cartridges to the University for testing of its students. The purchase will occur under the provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Columbia County will purchase approximately 12,750 test cartridges at an estimated cost of $510,000, of which $350,000 will come from the CRBG. Bloomsburg University will provide Columbia County the remaining $160,000 to supplement the CRBG funding to cover the remaining costs of the test cartridges. Of the 12,750 cartridges, 7,832 will be used for returning student testing, 3,916 (50% of the student body) for the semester, and then 1,000 for local residents. The purchase will help combat the spread of and identify individuals who have contracted COVID-19.
“I extend my appreciation to Commissioners Young, Ridgway, and Kovach for their support and collaboration on this plan,” said BU President Bashar Hanna. “This partnership between BU and Columbia County will go a long way in keeping our students and all residents healthy and safe. Testing will certainly help identify positive individuals and contain the spread of the virus. Still, we must all remain vigilant and continue to wear a mask and practice safe social distancing.”
“The University and its students are an important part of life in Columbia County,” said Commissioner Chris Young. “The investment we are making on behalf of our residents will benefit everyone as we look to combat the spread of the virus.”
There are currently 807 students this fall with a permanent home address in Columbia County, with more than 1,000 (out of 1,350) employees also living within the region. Those employees have a total payroll of $38.7 million, making a significant impact on the county's economy. In addition, $8.4 million of operational spending to vendors headquartered within Columbia and Montour counties. BU students also spend more than $59 million annually in the county.
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