As COVID-19 Surges Across America, United States of Care Issues Seven Recommendations to Improve State COVID-19 Testing and Summary of State Approaches to Testing
Washington, DC – Recently, United States of Care (USofCare) issued seven recommendations in a new memo for improving the State COVID-19 testing landscape in America. Also included was a list of states’ COVID-19 testing examples, models, and resources.
As all fifty states continue to up their capacity to conduct diagnostic and serologic testing four months into the pandemic, there remains no general model for statewide or state-based testing. Some target specific populations, counties, towns, or businesses, while others implement statewide programs. In addition to outlining specific states’ approaches, the memo also notes several outstanding challenges and opportunities that have yet to be addressed.
“United States of Care is tracking states’ actions to keep people safe from the virus,” said Joanna Dornfeld, Senior Director of State Affairs. “We outlined seven recommendations to improve COVID-19 testing across the country based on emerging best practices. Until we have a widely available vaccine or viable treatment, the lack of sufficient testing, contact tracing, and voluntary isolation remain significant impediments to reducing the spread of the virus.”
USofCare’s Seven Testing Recommendations Include Efforts to:
- Reduce or eliminate financial and administrative barriers by making it free to people and not requiring a health insurance card or proof of residency.
- Make testing convenient by hosting sites where people live or work. Utilize pop-up sites, walk and drive-thrus v, and places where communities organically gather and feel safe.
- Prioritize testing in conjunction with steps to reduce transmission in congregate living settings like nursing homes, prisons, and homeless shelters or industrial workplaces like food processing plants.
- Maximize testing participation, leverage partnerships, and multi-stakeholder collaborations with people and organizations that have established trust in communities.
- Incorporate strategies to monitor incidence and prevalence in communities as states expand testing beyond confirmation of suspected cases (based on symptoms or exposure to a COVID-positive person). This data will help inform when future surges may be on the horizon.
- Pair testing strategies with contact tracing and support for isolation to stem the spread of the virus.
- Urge Congress and the federal government — both uniquely positioned to provide additional, critical funding to states — to act quickly to sustain these public health efforts.
States have achieved varying levels of success at meeting testing goals sufficient to track the pandemic’s course. Daily metrics on states’ COVID response — including their ability to reach a per-capita adjusted target of 500,000 tests per day across the US — can be found on CovidExitStrategy.org.
United States of Care is a nonpartisan organization committed to ensuring that every American has access to quality, affordable health care. It supports endorsing state-based policies, building resources to understand current and new ideas, and educating and mobilizing the public toward this mission.