New York counties are recieving $323 million in Medicaid funding as part of coronavirus relief money from the federal government, the state Department of Health on Thursday announced. 

The money is part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and is being disbursed to counties whose governments have been financially hard hit by the virus and have spent heavily to respond the crisis. 

“While COVID-19 infection rates are dropping and New York State has effectively flattened the curve, we’re still feeling the significant human and financial toll of this virus," Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said.  “Governor Cuomo has been a fierce advocate for increased federal funding, and while this allotment will help the state and counties support programs important to our pandemic response, more federal funding is critically needed.”

The money was welcomed news to counties groaning under the weight of the virus response. 

“Counties are at a decisive moment in the battle against COVID-19, as we confront new cases and communities begin the delicate task of reopening," said New York State Association of Counties President John Marren. "Now more than ever, local governments need resources to keep up the fight, but with county sales tax revenues down by 30 to 40 percent and state reimbursement at risk, counties are facing major gaps in their 2020 budgets that could jeopardize this progress."