Virginia on track to procuring 500,000 tests per the Alliance’s initial goal for all ten states.
September 30, 2020—The Commonwealth of Virginia, a member of The Rockefeller Foundation’s State Alliance for Testing (STAT), plans to place the first order for 200,000 rapid, point-of-care tests for Covid-19. With the announcement, Virginia became the second state to purchase tests through this bipartisan group of ten governors working together to procure and deploy screening tests to quickly detect and help stop outbreaks before they spread – and continue safely reopening their economies.
“We know that more and faster testing is the key to containing this virus and getting back to a more normal time,” said Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. “That’s why Virginia signed on to this multi-state coalition, and that’s why we’re excited to take the next step by putting in a purchase order for more than 200,000 tests. We’re getting testing supplies to our communities as quickly as possible.”
All ten governors are planning to collectively purchase 5 million tests over the coming weeks, signaling to manufacturers that there is more than enough demand to produce the supply needed to get ahead of the spread. They include:
- Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R);
- Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D);
- Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R)
- Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R);
- Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D);
- North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D);
- Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R);
- Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo (D);
- Utah Governor Gary Herbert (R);
- Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D).
Rapid tests can provide results in as little as 15 minutes and will be a vital tool to reopen schools, workplaces, and other public places. Virginia plans to deploy these tests to the state’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities, where they will be used to protect high-risk residents and staff. Earlier this month, Maryland purchased 250,000 tests—along with the diagnostic machines used to process the tests onsite—through STAT.
“We owe it to our teachers, frontline workers, doctors, and nurses to make testing fast and effective,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “Rapid and regular testing is one of the best ways to protect them—so they can keep protecting us. I congratulate Governor Northam on taking this important step.”
Scaling up asymptomatic testing with rapid antigen tests is also a key strategy outlined in The Rockefeller Foundation’s National Covid-19 Testing and Tracing Action Plan. Rapid tests are very effective at detecting the virus when people have enough of it to be contagious—whether they have symptoms or not. According to a recent report A National Decision Point: Effective Testing and Screening for Covid-19, at present infection rates, a basic screening strategy will require approximately 200 million tests each month for schools and nursing homes to open safely and in stages. Currently, there are only around 30 million Covid-19 diagnostic and screening tests being reported monthly in the United States.
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