Annapolis, MD | September 10, 2020—Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced today the purchase of 250,000 rapid, point-of-care tests for Covid-19. The tests, which can provide results in minutes rather than days, will go straight to the frontlines across the state, including hospitals and nursing homes. Maryland is a founding member of the bipartisan 10-state compact with The Rockefeller Foundation, the first interstate testing compact of its kind dedicated to procuring and deploying screening tests to quickly detect and help stop outbreaks before they spread – and continue safely reopening their economies.
“This state-of-the-art rapid testing will be critically important to our continued economic recovery and will also help to keep the people of our state safe,” said Governor Hogan. “I’m pleased to announce that Maryland will be the first state in the bipartisan interstate testing compact to move forward with an order with Becton Dickinson for the purchase of the first 250,000 of these rapid tests, along with the diagnostic machines used to process the tests onsite.”
The BD Veritor tests purchased today are produced by Becton Dickinson. Governor Hogan announced the purchase during a visit to their Baltimore County facility, which employs more than 1,900 people. The announcement represents the latest step in Maryland’s long-term testing strategy. So far, more than one in five Maryland residents have gotten a COVID-19 test, and 2 million total tests have been delivered.
Because of the rapid results, which can be ready in 15 minutes, antigen tests are one of the best tools to help essential workers in hospitals and nursing homes, along with schools, workplaces, and other public settings continue to open safely. The rapid antigen tests purchased today will help people protect these workers, along with their friends and family during the time period when they’re most at risk, and represent a breakthrough tool in the fight against COVID-19.
“No one should have to choose between doing their job and doing their part to end this pandemic,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “Beating back this pandemic requires a massive scale up of rapid screening testing to 200 million a month. Right now as a country heading into flu season, we aren’t even at 25 million a month. That’s why the leadership and commitment shown by Governor Hogan – and all 10 governors in the compact – is critical to giving workers, teachers, students, and people at higher risk for adverse Covid-related outcomes the confidence they need to be safe until a vaccine is proven effective and widely available.”
As the nation continues to face severe testing shortages and delays, Governor Hogan, who was then in his final days as chair of the National Governors Association, negotiated the compact with The Rockefeller Foundation. Since its launch in early August, it now includes ten states—split equally between Democratic and Republican governors— that are working together to ramp up the use of rapid antigen tests.
In addition to Governor Hogan (R), the compact currently includes:
- Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R);
- Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D);
- Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R);
- Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D);
- North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D);
- Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo (D);
- Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R);
- Utah Governor Gary Herbert (R);
- Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D).
They’ve been meeting regularly to share lessons about rapid screening tests and listen to experts about the latest and most promising testing technologies. Several states are in various stages of signing letters of intents to procure hundreds of thousands of antigen tests from various different manufacturers. All ten are planning joint purchases of millions more. In particular, over the coming weeks, the states will collectively purchase 5 million tests, signaling to manufacturers that there is more than enough demand to produce the supply needed to get ahead of the spread.
Scaling up asymptomatic testing with rapid antigen tests are also a key strategy outlined in The Rockefeller Foundation’s National Covid-19 Testing and Tracing Action Plan . The plan includes a goal of administering at least 30 million weekly tests, 25 million rapid-result, screening tests and 5 million diagnostic tests, a target that would help the United States more quickly and safely reopen – and keep open – its economy.
If enough rapid antigen tests are produced and distributed, they can be used on-site at schools and major workplaces. This would allow teachers, students, healthcare workers, frontline workers, and, eventually, anyone to get tested daily with instant results—preventing outbreaks and allowing schools and workplaces to stay open.
About The Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation advances new frontiers of science, data, and innovation to solve global challenges related to health, food, power, and economic mobility. As a science-driven philanthropy focused on building collaborative relationships with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation seeks to inspire and foster large-scale human impact that promotes the well-being of humanity throughout the world by identifying and accelerating breakthrough solutions, ideas, and conversations. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.
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