Goal is to help increase local testing capabilities and support through 2021
Louisville, May 7, 2020 – Mayor Greg Fischer announced today that Louisville is participating in The Rockefeller Foundation’s Testing Solutions Group, which held its inaugural meeting this afternoon. This coalition of cities and tribal nations will facilitate the exchange of best practices for U.S. leaders to more safely reopen their economies while safeguarding public health.
“We greatly appreciate the national leadership of The Rockefeller Foundation during this crisis and their selection of Louisville as a coalition member,” Mayor Fischer said. “This involvement will mean broader COVID-19 testing in Louisville and better outcomes for our community.”
As COVID-19 has swept across the U.S., infecting more than 1.25 million and killing over 73,000 Americans, leaders have been forced to issue strict social distancing guidelines and shut down many parts of the economy. More than 33 million Americans filed for unemployment over the last seven weeks. A record high, this means that roughly one in five American workers has filed for unemployment in under two months.
Government officials, business and community leaders and families across the country are anxious to restart the economy, but the risk of a local and regional resurgence of Covid-19 remains real.
With no vaccine yet available, the number of new coronavirus cases is still increasing in some states, and the current weekly average – while improving – is still under two million tests a week. According to The Rockefeller Foundation’s plan, the country needs to scale up access to testing to at least 30 million a week and significantly expand contact tracing in order to rapidly detect recurrent outbreaks, monitor workplaces and protect high-risk locations such nursing homes, prisons, and under-served communities. This approach is also key to more safely restarting the U.S. economy.
The Rockefeller Foundation announced its comprehensive National COVID-19 Testing Action Plan to address this challenge in April, committing $15 million to what it describes as the largest public health testing program in U.S. history.
Carried out in coordination with public health authorities and federal, state, and local governments the plan includes:
- launching an Emergency Network to coordinate, expand and underwrite the testing market;
- mobilizing the largest public health testing system to monitor infections and future infection waves;
- expanding the capacities and resources of thousands of national, university and local laboratories around the country to provide much of the expanded testing;
- establishing a medical reserve corps to distribute and oversee testing;
- hiring as many as 300,000 people to undertake a rigorous campaign of contact tracing;
- developing coordinated computer systems and a digital platform for information sharing and infection tracking, while addressing the significant challenges around medical privacy and other ethical issues;
- creating a Pandemic Testing Board to oversee the testing scale-up and coordination between federal, state, and local jurisdictions.
Participation in the plan’s Testing Solutions Group means that Louisville will join several cities, states, and tribal communities committed to scaling up access to testing for COVID-19 for their citizens, while also collaborating with other leaders and experts to find solutions to common challenges.
The Rockefeller Foundation is moving ahead with supporting efforts to expand access to testing, contact tracing, and data capabilities all across the United States, with a focus on assisting especially vulnerable citizens. Last month, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California is contracting with Verily, an Alphabet company, in partnership with Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE) and with support from The Rockefeller Foundation and an anonymous donor, to establish six new community testing sites. Starting in Los Angeles, CORE is focusing on reaching more underserved communities such as farmworkers and communities of color across the state.
“While America is improving on testing, we can and must do better as a country,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “It’s going take leadership at the federal, state, and municipal level to protect American families and allow them to get back to work, which is why we are thrilled to have leaders like Mayor Fischer in our Testing Solutions Group.”
The Testing Solutions Group has four goals:
- Peer Network: Drive collaboration across communities, regions, and other institutions to share and implement best practices.
- Knowledge Products: Bring together expertise from industry and academia to develop effective strategy and policy recommendations.
- Learning: Support elected officials in collecting real-time data, evidence, and feedback to improve testing strategies.
- Technical and Financial Assistance: Provide support to enhance testing capabilities aligned with the ideas in the Plan, with a focus on supporting vulnerable populations.
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 www.rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.