Isles to get $2.8 million
for bioterror response

Hawaii health officials will receive an additional $2.8 million from the federal government to better prepare for bioterrorism attacks, infectious-disease outbreaks and natural disasters.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Monday it was releasing $498 million nationwide.

"These grants are an important addition to national security because hospitals play such a critical role in identifying and responding to a terrorist attack or infectious-disease outbreak," HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson said. "The people of Hawaii can use these funds to improve emergency care for any health crisis, whether the source is a bioterror attack, other infectious disease outbreaks or natural disaster."

The Hospital Preparedness Program was adopted after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Hospitals will use the money to prepare a rapid bed-expansion plan in the event of mass casualties and increase isolation and decontamination capacity, said Elizabeth Duke, administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, which oversees the program.


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