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Rockefeller Foundation Lays Out Massive COVID-19 Testing Action Plan for US

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 22 Apr 2020
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The Rockefeller Foundation (New York, NY, USA) has laid out a National COVID-19 Testing Action Plan which outlines the precise steps necessary to enact robust testing, tracing, and coordination to more safely reopen the US economy – starting with a dramatic expansion of testing from one million tests per week to initially three million per week and then 30 million per week. The effort will be backed by an Emergency Network for COVID-19 Testing to coordinate and underwrite the testing market, a public-private testing technology accelerator, and a national initiative to rapidly expand and optimize the use of US, university, and local lab capacity. The goal of the Action Plan is to build a state-led national program of COVID-19 testing that supports reopening the US economy through the goals of work-force monitoring, early detection of recurrent outbreaks, and diagnostic and home testing. This would be the largest public health testing pro-gram in American history and its success will depend on the active engagement of the government, business, philanthropy, and the public.

In the past two weeks, the Rockefeller Foundation has brought together experts and leaders from science, industry, academia, public policy, and government – across sectors and political ideologies – to create a clear, pragmatic, data-driven, actionable plan to beat back COVID-19 and get Americans back to work more safely. The Rockefeller Foundation believes that testing is the way out of this crisis, and instead of ricocheting between an unsustainable shutdown and a dangerous, uncertain return to normalcy, the US must mount a sustainable strategy with better tests and contact tracing, and stay the course for as long as it takes to develop a vaccine or cure.

The Rockefeller Foundation and its finance partners will help create an emergency procurement network, the Emergency Network for Covid-19 Testing, that can leverage public-private credit guarantees, define pooled procurement requirements for critical testing and supplies and negotiate medium term (3-6 month) contracts with suppliers to make sure large volumes of critical supplies are accessible to purchasing cooperatives, health systems, state and local governments, working alone or together, and other buyers. The aim of the ENCT would be to support and complement the work of federal and state agencies by engaging with producers of testing equipment, reagents, and other lab consumables; national, state and local purchasers; public and private healthcare funders; and financial institutions. The intent is to overcome market, government, logistical, and diagnostic industry challenges that have plagued the dramatic scale up in COVID-19 diagnostic testing required to reopen the US economy.

The Action Plan also includes launching a Covid Community Healthcare Corps so that every American can easily get tested with privacy-centric contact tracing; a testing data commons and digital platform to track COVID-19 statuses, resources, and effective treatment protocols across states and be a clearinghouse for data on new technologies; and a Pandemic Testing Board, in line with other recommendations, to bridge divides across governmental jurisdictions and professional fields.

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