Covid-19 Testing Solutions Group

The Testing Solutions Group (TSG) is a network of public officials spanning U.S. cities, states, counties, and tribal nations devoted to rapidly scaling Covid-19 testing, tracing and tracking in their communities.
GOAL:

To facilitate the exchange of best practices for public health authorities and officials working to scale up pandemic testing, tracing, and tracking in order to reopen their economies while safeguarding public health.


HOW IT WORKS:

Peer Network:
The Rockefeller Foundation convenes the Group every two weeks to:
• Drive collaboration about promising initiatives at both the state and local levels
• Engage directly with technical experts and colleagues
• Facilitate the exchange of on-the-ground challenges and real-time solutions associated with testing, contact tracing, and tracking

Knowledge Products:
• Package the insights shared through the TSG
• Develop strategy and policy recommendations that support government officials and other community leaders and their leadership teams.

Learning:
• Support public officials and other community leaders to collect real-time data, evidence, and feedback to improve testing strategies.

Testing is Key to this Public Health and Economic Crisis

Testing is crucial to ending this crisis. Decision makers need to know who has active Covid-19 infections to implement tailored social distancing policies and protect workers, communities, and families. This cannot be achieved without timely data, which requires real-time, widespread testing.

 
 

While progress is being made to increase the number of tests administered each week, the numbers are still too low to adequately monitor the workforce and rapidly detect recurrent outbreaks. While testing capacity has increased substantially since April, many communities are still struggling to provide an adequate number of rapid-result tests to identify and target resources to stop the asymptomatic spread of the disease – as health officials estimate that up to 40 percent of new infections are transmitted this way. This is due to a range of market failures and gaps across the value chain—from development and production, to distribution and use, to analysis and monitoring.

  1. Tests are not yet being produced at the scale needed in part due to the financial risks companies face in expanding production without guaranteed demand.
  2. Beyond financing, testing availability varies by region, and procurement remains fragmented and uncoordinated across states and cities.
  3. Shortages of key supplies, such as swabs and reagents, are limiting scale-up. Some labs are overwhelmed—causing delays in testing results—while other national, university, and local labs have untapped capacity.

The National Covid-19 Testing & Tracing Action Plan

Against this backdrop, The Rockefeller Foundation launched the National Covid-19 Testing & Tracing Action Plan.

As the largest public health testing program in U.S. history, it provides pragmatic steps to enact robust testing and contact tracing to more safely reopen workplaces in coordination with public authorities and federal, state, tribal, and local government officials.

 
 

The Action Plan calls for a dramatic increase in testing to 30 million a week by the fall. In addition to at least 5 million diagnostics PCR tests, America needs to conduct at least 25 million rapid-result antigen tests dedicated to asymptomatic screening per week for schools, health facilities, and essential workers to function safely. The plan also calls for the significant reduction in processing time for diagnostic tests to a 48-hour standard turnaround time nationwide. This reinvestment in testing must also be tied to the basics of any pandemic response to really work: clear public health communications from trusted community leaders, robust contact tracing, and support for targeted isolation to reduce the contagion of the disease.

The Testing Solutions Group is key to achieving the Action Plan’s goals and getting America back on track.

Testing Solutions Group Structure:

The coalition will consist of two types of core partners, with oversight and support from the Centre for Public Impact, a non-profit, non-partisan organization founded by Boston Consulting Group to reimagine government that serves as the Testing Solutions Group’s Secretariat.

  1. State and Local Officials: Members are leading ambitious efforts to scale up testing in their communities as a pathway to safe and accelerated economic recovery. They participate in TSG sessions every 2 weeks to share learnings and feedback to better understand their needs and the challenges to scaling and developing solutions. Each member commits at least one participant, who is involved in the testing efforts, to attend the meetings, convened for the first time on May 8, 2020. Examples of attendees include, but are not limited to, chief innovation officers, deputy mayors, and health and emergency management department leads.
  2. Experts & Leaders: Technical experts, non-profit providers, and nationally recognized public health officials meet with the TSG to share knowledge and help answer real-time questions from members as they expand their testing efforts, such as: How do I ensure tests can reach our most vulnerable citizens? Is there any evidence that previously infected individuals can develop immunity? What are some best practices for how self-isolation can be enforced for individuals who have tested positive?

Testing Solutions Group Members

Demand-driven and local-solutions centric, this bipartisan, broad-based coalition of more than two dozen U.S. city, states, and tribes is committed to scaling up access to testing for Covid-19 and collaborating with other leaders and experts to find solutions to common challenges – and get their citizens back to work more safely.

 
 

Cities: Baltimore, Md.; Boston, Mass.; Cambridge, Mass.; Columbia, S.C.; Dayton, Ohio; Madison, Wis.; New York City, N.Y.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; South Bend, Ind.; West Sacramento, Calif.; Detroit, Mich.; Honolulu, Hawaii; Los Angeles, Calif.; Greater Miami and the Beaches, Fla. (a partnership including Miami, Miami Beach, and Miami Dade County); Louisville, Ky.; New Orleans, La.; Tulsa, Okla.; Manchester, VT.; and Washington, D.C.

States: Oregon, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio, and Rhode Island.

Tribes: Navajo Nation and White Mountain Apache Tribe through the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health

  • Report

    National Covid-19 Testing and Tracing Action Plan

    We called in April for the nation to get to three million Covid-19 tests a week by July and to 30 million by October. We’re well on the way, at the 4.5 million now. But to beat this virus we need a massive national effort—backed by organizational heft and billions in new funding— to get […]
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