BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Uncle Sam is cracking open the wallet and shelling out $1.64 million to Erie County Medical Center to cover unplanned pandemic costs.

Congressman Brian Higgins announced the federal funding Tuesday. The cash is intended to reimburse ECMC for the unexpected purchase of personal protective equipment and disinfectant supplies. The money will also pay for contract services.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was tapped for the $1.64 million, according to Higgins’ office.

The grant reimburses costs ECMC took on between July 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021. $1,252,562.39 will pay for PPE and disinfectant and $387,960 will go toward contract services.

“The COVID-19 pandemic required hospitals to provide equipment and materials far beyond the scope of their standard operating procedure, in addition to providing care for COVID and non-COVID patients. This was particularly challenging for major medical providers, like ECMC, who served on the front lines continuously from the onset of the pandemic,” said Congressman Higgins. “Federal funding will help cover some of those unplanned expenses and ensure that the hospital remains prepared for any future public health crises.”

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Patrick Ryan is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here.