If we’re going to end this pandemic, we have to work together. That’s why Governors in both parties are joining the State and Territory Alliance for Testing (STAT) to share information, learn from each other’s experience fighting Covid-19, and deploy rapid tests where they’re needed most. Together, they’re creating an early warning system to stop outbreaks before they spread.
What We're Doing
States and territories in STAT meet regularly to learn about advances in testing, share success stories, and listen to experts preview the most promising technological breakthroughs.
Governors in the Alliance are also using their joint purchasing power to encourage manufacturers to ramp up the production of rapid tests, reduce prices and provide quicker delivery. So far, states have used STAT’s leverage to purchase millions of rapid tests, which are going straight to schools, nursing homes, and other public settings on the frontlines of the pandemic.
tests have been purchased by participants
- 23participating states
dedicated to ramping up Covid-19 testing to reopen communities
since August 2020
Comprised of state officials, Rockefeller Foundation leaders and outside experts, STAT working groups help members learn, plan and execute in the most important areas of Covid-19 response.
They ensure participating states can get tests straight to the frontlines of the pandemic, where they can stop outbreaks, save lives, and help safely reopen our economy.
Clinical Information & Planning
The Clinical Information & Planning working group provides up-to-date information on testing technologies, use cases, and strategies that can be deployed on a local and state level. It does this by:
- Circulating breaking updates on new testing technologies, to pressure test the latest antigen and point of care tests receiving Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs)
- Defining the real-world situations where different testing strategies can be most effective and providing guidance for how to execute each of them, curated for specific member states and settings
- Ensuring test results and data can be shared quickly and efficiently, to stop outbreaks before they spread
- Arranging for industry experts to share data and tools directly with the states which need them
- Developing infographics and other materials to make technical guidance clear
- Responding on a daily basis to the data and research needs of STAT members
Public Health Communications
Even the most detailed strategies depend on motivating people to participate. To that end, the public health communications working group gives members the tools, resources and research they need to communicate with the public, including:
- Ongoing audience research–including surveys and focus groups–to understand people’s motivations, concerns and questions about testing, tracing, and other protective behaviors
- Message resources—including the Testing & Tracing Message Handbook, and theRapid Testing Message Brief—with research-based guidance for communicating with the public
- Tailored content for social media for STAT members to keep the public informed on the pandemic response
- Hands-on help for responding to new communications challenges
Supply Chain & Logistics
The Supply Chain working group engages with the states and territories to improve the planning, procurement, and distribution of Covid-19 tests. It does this by:
- Providing guidance to enable efficient delivery of antigen tests to point of care sites
- Defining supply chain challenges and solutions and outlining best practices for reporting and use of different tests available
- Publishing the STAT State Test Tracker, a weekly collection of procurement and distribution data
- Conducting training on demand planning processes
- Facilitating cross-state learning through one-on-one conversations and weekly meetings
Quick Procurement and Distribution of Tests
The Rockefeller Foundation has dedicated up to $30 million for an Advanced Market Commitment to a large medical supply distributor to enable the procurement, purchase, stocking, sale, and distribution of an array of rapid Covid-19 tests. This commitment drives efficiency, facilitates volume discounts for STAT members, and gives manufacturers confidence in demand. Further, it ensures that the right tests are getting to the right people at the right time to protect the health and safety of the most vulnerable populations.
Cutting Edge Updates
To ensure member states are up to speed on the latest cutting edge developments, STAT has procured multiple briefings from companies participating in NIH’s RADx (Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics) initiative. RADx helps to scale up the production of tests by identifying and selecting companies with promising technologies. These behind-the-scenes briefings ensure that STAT members are ready to take advantage of testing innovations as soon as they’re ready for use.
Building On Success
Founded by 10 charter states in August, STAT has more than doubled to 22 current participants. As more states and territories participate, they only increase their leverage for test purchases, enabling better prices and quicker delivery. This also enriches the exchange of best practices and key learnings that can be replicated across state lines.
Since August, STAT members have had weekly discussions to learn from each other’s experiences. They’ve shared challenges and success stories for deploying and distributing tests where they’re needed most–including the schools and workplaces whose safety is crucial to controlling the coronavirus. These conversations have helped public health officials refine the best approach for their state or territory.
To keep members in constant contact with organizations and agencies on the frontlines of the pandemic response, STAT has formed working relationships with:
- National Governors Association
- Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) Initiative at the National Institutes of Health
- Department of Health and Human Services
- Duke-Margolis Health Policy Center
- Biomedical Diagnostics program at Arizona State University
STAT members are working around the clock to get tests to the frontlines where they’re needed most—including schools, nursing homes, and workplaces.
Massachusetts has successfully rolled out symptomatic K-12 testing; test supply is a major challenge to widespread asymptomatic screening.
Massachusetts operationalized Phase 1 of its BinaxNOW Rapid Point of Care COVID-19 Testing for K-12 Schools in November with a group of about 150 interested public school districts, charter schools and approved special education schools providing any form of in-person instruction. The state recommended testing students and staff who are showing COVID-19 symptoms fully or partially. Participating districts and schools were required to obtain CLIA waivers, received test kits at no cost, and in most cases, will administer the test using existing staff resources. Having conducted a validation study of the Abbott BinaxNOW test that confirmed very high specificity in both adults and children and very high sensitivity in newly symptomatic adults, Massachusetts is planning to conduct an additional study focused on the sensitivity of BinaxNOW for asymptomatic children. Massachusetts has cited lack of test supply as a major challenge in any attempt to conduct widespread asymptomatic testing in a K-12 setting.
Texas took bold steps to secure a statewide CLIA waiver, clearing the way for testing at 10,000+ campuses.
Texas has rolled out screening tests on an opt-in basis for its K-12 populations using Abbott BinaxNOW tests in two ways: targeted for staff and students who present symptoms of Covid-19 while on campus; and screening for staff at frequencies contingent on the Covid-19 hospitalization rate within each school’s Trauma Service Region (<7%, every 4 weeks; 7-15%, every 2 weeks; >15%, every week). All testing is free, administered by individuals who have complied with training requirements provided online, and is conducted on a voluntary basis with permission slips required for students under 18 years of age. Schools have discretion over the use of tests for extracurricular activities but cannot mandate the testing of any staff or student. Uniquely, the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) obtained a statewide CLIA waiver which allows for testing at all locations including school systems across the state, negating the need for schools to obtain their own individual waivers. A standing delegation order for testing was also issued to ensure school nurses could participate in compliance with state nursing board requirements. All necessary PPE is distributed with the test cards on a monthly basis and a custom mobile application was developed and provided to comply with state reporting requirements. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) co-sponsors the program and promotes participation. The program is currently available to ~6M students and staff in 10,000+ public and private campuses across all 254 counties in the state. As of early December, ~20% of potential sites have requested the testing assets leading to the distribution of more than 1 million tests with additional schools opting-in daily.
Utah’s early success in screening extracurricular activities has led to broader screening for the K-12 population.
Utah has rolled out a “Test to Play” strategy for the asymptomatic screening of students participating in extracurricular activities at the high school level. Testing is undertaken every two weeks and a negative test is required for practice or competition in extracurricular activities. Utah is now piloting a “Test to Stay” strategy in several school districts, extending asymptomatic screening to the state’s broader K-12 population. School testing teams have been assigned the responsibility to administer, manage, and report tests and put into place positivity thresholds for school closures. If any school hits the threshold, the school either goes online for two weeks or offers testing to all students if the school continues to offer in-person learning.
Illinois finds K-12 testing valuable for essential workers, at schools in lower-income and rural communities.
Illinois has piloted K-12 Rapid POC testing using Abbott BinaxNOW with 8 districts comprising 40-50 schools. The state provided schools with discretion on the targeting and frequency of testing, leading to a range of approaches including symptomatic; symptomatic+; and weekly screening regimens. All such approaches have been viewed positively by the state, providing a meaningful level of risk mitigation and allowing schools to remain open. K-12 testing has been particularly well received in rural communities where testing sites are further away, by parents who are essential workers, and at schools in lower-income areas. Illinois is planning to roll the program out to another 40 school districts.
Maryland’s archetype study puts testing approach in the control of schools; lessons to inform broader rollout in 2021.
Maryland has operationalized an Early Adopter Program with nine K-12 schools with varying sizes, demographics and residential programs. The approach has been to undertake screening and confirmatory PCR testing of asymptomatic positive POC tests as well as negative POC tests if there is known exposure or symptoms present. Like Illinois, Maryland has left it up to the schools to determine what works best for their population in terms of frequency of testing. The goal of the Early Adopter Program is to capture lessons before rolling out to a broader set of districts in 2021.
Expanding The Alliance
Every state in the country has spent the last seven months learning how to fight Covid-19—and how not to. The more states join STAT, the faster we can learn from each other’s experiences and craft the strategy that will work best for each state. Growing the alliance will also motivate manufacturers to produce more tests—and give governors more leverage to get a better deal.
Why Rapid Testing?
Rapid tests provide results in as little as 15 minutes, so people can protect those around them before it’s too late—instead of spending days worrying if their loved ones are at risk. Regular rapid testing is inexpensive, and can create an early warning system to stop outbreaks before they spread. It’s the only way we’ll be able to reopen schools, workplaces and other public settings while protecting the frontline workers who have spent months protecting us.
- This Brief includes a variety of research-based insights you can use to communicate more effectively about rapid testing.
Covid-19 Testing Solutions Group
GOAL: To facilitate the exchange of best practices for public health authorities and officials working to scale up pandemic testing, tracing, and vaccinations 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 […]More