Ho­gan among gov­er­nors in compact to ex­pand use of anti­gen tests

The Dundalk Eagle - - BY PEOPLE THE -

Mary­land Gov­er­nor Larry Ho­gan, Louisiana Gov­er­nor John Bel Ed­wards, Mas­sachusetts Gov­er­nor Char­lie Baker, Michi­gan Gov­er­nor Gretchen Whit­mer, Ohio Gov­er­nor Mike DeWine, and Vir­ginia Gov­er­nor Ralph Northam an­nounced a ma­jor bi­par­ti­san in­ter­state compact with the Rock­e­feller Foun­da­tion to ex­pand the use of rapid pointof-care anti­gen tests to slow the spread of COVID-19 and con­tinue safely re­open­ing the states.

As the na­tion con­tin­ues to face se­vere test­ing short­ages and de­lays, this is the first in­ter­state test­ing compact of its kind among gov­er­nors dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­demic. Gov­er­nor Ho­gan, in his fi­nal days as chair of the Na­tional Gov­er­nors As­so­ci­a­tion, ne­go­ti­ated the compact with the Rock­e­feller Foun­da­tion. The ini­tial agree­ment in­cludes six gov­er­nors—three Repub­li­cans and three Democrats— and ad­di­tional states, cities, and lo­cal gov­ern­ments may join the compact in the com­ing days and weeks.

By band­ing to­gether, the states are demon­strat­ing to pri­vate man­u­fac­tur­ers that there is sig­nif­i­cant de­mand to scale up the pro­duc­tion of these tests, which de­liver re­sults in 15-20 min­utes. With to­day’s agree­ment, the states are in dis­cus­sions with Bec­ton Dickinson and Quidel—the U.S. man­u­fac­tur­ers of anti­gen tests that have al­ready been au­tho­rized by the FDA—to pur­chase 500,000 tests per state, for a to­tal of three mil­lion tests.

Through this in­ter­state compact, states are com­ing to­gether to ramp up the use of rapid anti­gen test­ing to help bet­ter de­tect out­breaks more quickly, and ex­pand longterm test­ing in con­gre­gate set­tings such as schools, work­places, and nurs­ing homes.

This in­ter­state co­op­er­a­tive pur­chas­ing agree­ment will pro­vide a unique plat­form to pur­chase tests and as­so­ci­ated sup­plies in a sus­tain­able and cost-ef­fec­tive man­ner. In ad­di­tion, the states will co­or­di­nate on poli­cies and pro­to­cols re­gard­ing rapid anti­gen test­ing tech­nol­ogy.

The Rock­e­feller Foun­da­tion stands ready to as­sist in fa­cil­i­tat­ing fi­nanc­ing mech­a­nisms to sup­port this large-scale in­ter­state test­ing compact.

“With se­vere short­ages and de­lays in test­ing and the fed­eral ad­min­is­tra­tion at­tempt­ing to cut fund­ing for test­ing, the states are band­ing to­gether to ac­quire mil­lions of faster tests to help save lives and slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Gov­er­nor Ho­gan.

“I want to thank my fel­low gov­er­nors for sign­ing on to this ground­break­ing bi­par­ti­san agree­ment, which we have just fi­nal­ized af­ter weeks of dis­cus­sions with the Rock­e­feller Foun­da­tion. We will be work­ing to bring ad­di­tional states, cities, and lo­cal gov­ern­ments on board as this ini­tia­tive moves for­ward.”

“Rapid ac­cess to test­ing is cru­cial in our col­lec­tive fight against COVID-19, which is why I am grate­ful to join these other gov­er­nors in a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort to pur­chase test­ing sup­plies and help iden­tify out­breaks more quickly, while im­prov­ing the turn­around time for test re­sults,” said Gov­er­nor Bel Ed­wards.

“COVID does not know any bor­ders and by work­ing to­gether we strengthen our re­sponse, im­prove test­ing ac­cess and ul­ti­mately help our com­mu­ni­ties be­come safer and health­ier.”

“This bi­par­ti­san part­ner­ship will help us pro­tect our fam­i­lies, the he­roes on the front lines of this cri­sis, small busi­nesses, and our most vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties,” said Gov­er­nor Whit­mer.

“Wide­spread test­ing is one of the most cru­cial tools we have to stop the spread of this virus and save lives. I’m proud of the bi­par­ti­san work gov­er­nors across the state have done to pro­tect our re­gions from COVID-19. I’m hope­ful that the pres­i­dent and Congress will fol­low our lead and work to­gether on a re­cov­ery pack­age that in­cludes sup­port for states like ours so we can con­tinue to pro­tect our fam­i­lies.”

“Time is of the essence, which is why I am pleased to join with my fel­low gov­er­nors to work to­gether to ex­pand the use of rapid, point-of­care anti­gen tests in or­der to help to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our states,” said Gov­er­nor DeWine.

“The states are lead­ing Amer­ica’s na­tional re­sponse to COVID-19,” said Gov­er­nor Northam. “We are bring­ing to­gether this bi­par­ti­san, multi-state coali­tion to com­bine our pur­chas­ing power and get rapid test­ing sup­plies to our com­mu­ni­ties as quickly as pos­si­ble. The peo­ple in our six states want to see ac­tion, and we’re de­liv­er­ing.”

“We are com­mit­ted to help­ing com­mu­ni­ties across Amer­ica avoid the tragic con­se­quences of this dis­ease by ex­pand­ing the use of the lat­est di­ag­nos­tic and screen­ing tests so those un­wit­tingly spread­ing Covid can be iso­lated and sup­ported,” said Dr Ra­jiv Shah, Pres­i­dent of The Rock­e­feller Foun­da­tion.

“I am grate­ful to Gov­er­nors Ho­gan, Bel Ed­wards, Baker, Whit­mer, DeWine and Northam for their lead­er­ship and part­ner­ships to give work­ers, teach­ers, stu­dents, and vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple the con­fi­dence they need to be safe un­til a vac­cine is de­vel­oped and proven ef­fec­tive.”

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