augusta free press news

Warner, Kaine join for info, transparency on COVID-19 testing

coronavirus politics
(© Sono Creative –

U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine joined a group of senators in calling on the Coronavirus Task Force and FEMA to conduct a national inventory of COVID-19 diagnostic testing supply, publicly release data on testing results, and provide a detailed plan and timeline for addressing future shortages and gaps in the testing supply chain.

“Over three weeks after President Trump declared the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency, we continue to hear from our states and Tribal Nations about the lack of supplies and testing kits to diagnose our constituents for the coronavirus,” the letter went. “State departments of health, hospitals, health care providers, and first responders lack the tests and equipment—including personal protective equipment (PPE), testing swabs, and reagents—needed to conduct adequate public health surveillance to contain and stop the spread of coronavirus.

“Widespread diagnostic testing is crucial to controlling the COVID-19 outbreak. In the short term, quickly obtaining test results for hospitalized patients allows hospitals to preserve supplies of PPE and prevents unnecessary quarantines of front-line health care workers and first responders. In the long run, experts have argued that widespread testing will be needed to track and contain COVID-19 cases, allowing communities to slowly lift general social distancing restrictions without putting the public at risk.”

More from the letter: “We urge you to promptly develop a national, real-time, public-facing inventory of COVID-19 diagnostic tests and results. This resource will provide the transparency that our states and Tribal Nations need to anticipate the national testing supply chain and the information that the federal government needs to anticipate and proactively address any testing shortages.”