The Department of Health and Human Services posted the May and June state COVID-19 testing plans on its website today. (HHS)
The plans serve as a roadmap for each state’s response to the pandemic and include details on response to surge cases and how to reach vulnerable populations, including minorities, immunocompromised individuals and older adults.
States were also required to include their target testing numbers as outlined in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases guidance document.
The plans for July-December were also due to CDC today, which will incorporate feedback on their previous testing plan.
WHY THIS MATTERS
CDC uses serology, or antibody, tests to get a complete understanding of the incidence levels for the coronavirus and to guide infection control measures.
States are required to detail in their plans how a minimum of 2% of their population will be tested each month, as well as a plan to increase that percentage this fall.
These plans are a means for state health officials to get feedback from HHS to ensure that each state is sufficiently mitigating the spread of the virus, protecting vulnerable groups and accounting for enough test supplies for all communities.
THE LARGER TREND
Designated teams in each state have been working on developing testing plans with experts from HHS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency since early April.
In May, CDC granted $10.25 billion to states, territories and localities to be used to purchase testing supplies and implement the plans.
The U.S. has completed over 40 million COVID-19 tests so far, according to a CDC report.
ON THE RECORD
“Overall, the plans submitted by the states were very good to excellent; and all will be improved by the ongoing collaboration of states with federal experts. Testing is not just about numbers – it is about targeting testing to the right people at the right time, and incorporation of testing into a comprehensive state plan for COVID-19,” assistant secretary for Health Dr. Brett Giroir said in a statement. “We are pleased at what nearly every state has achieved to date, and look forward to continuing to expand SARS-CoV-2 testing capacity in the U.S.”