Health care professional wearing PPE

01.06.22

COVID-19 Testing Resources

Expert

Keri Barclay

Keri Barclay

Manager of Clinical Preparedness/Coalition Administrative Liaison

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Guides

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  • COVID-19
  • Disease Management

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COVID-19 guide

Given the increase in COVID-19 testing and the need for support, the CDC, ASPR, and the HHS Testing and Diagnostics Workgroup offer various information and programs to partners interested in federal government support for testing.

 

List of Testing Contractors

DHSS recently surveyed contractors regarding their ability to assist with testing sites and provided a list for hospitals.

 

Extension of BinaxNOW Expiry Date

The FDA authorized an expiry extension for BinaxNOW tests for three months from the current expiration date listed on the external box. Components inside the box will have varying expiration dates; however, the only date to reference is on the outside of the box by the hourglass icon. There is no guarantee another extension will be granted, so DHSS encourages shared use if test kits will not be used before the end of the extended expiry date.

 

Free testing supplies for hospitals.

With the supply constraints of BinaxNOW tests and other COVID-19 testing supplies, Zest Health is offering hospitals free testing services to test staff. Additional details, including how to enroll, are available.

 

Free testing supplies available to RHCs.

HHS announced that all Medicare-certified RHCs can order free, FDA-approved COVID-19 self-testing supplies for distribution in their communities through HRSA’s COVID-19 Testing Supply Program. For questions, email RHCTestKit.HRSA@hrsa.gov.

 

Testing in communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

The CDC’s Increased Community Access to Testing (ICATT) program supports no-cost testing in pharmacies and other specific locations in communities that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Contact ICATT at eocevent586@cdc.gov.

CDC’s Operation Expanded Testing (OpET) supports no-cost, school-based testing for K-12 students and congregate settings in communities that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Please contact the OpET program at eocevent586@cdc.gov.

 

Surge testing in communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

CDC’s ICATT program can help states implement temporary surge testing sites to respond to demands for large volumes of testing. Requests for placement of surge testing sites in your state can be initiated by simultaneously contacting the ICATT program at eocevent586@cdc.gov and by submitting a Resource Request Form to FEMA. The RRF is available online and is accessible to state emergency management officials. Requests for surge testing sites through this program only are accepted through state health departments. Local health departments should coordinate with their state health department to apply. CDC staff will work with requestors to discuss site requirements while the RRF application process takes place.

 

Availability of laboratory and testing supplies.

The federal government currently distributes swabs and viral transport media directly to health departments. No other testing supplies are available directly from the federal government at this time. If your jurisdiction would like to request swabs or VTM, send a request to the CDC at eocevent588@cdc.gov. These requests should not use the FEMA/RRF system. CDC and ASPR staff may be able to advise on supply availability in the commercial market, as well as the use of state Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity funds for procurement of laboratory or testing supplies. Inquiries can be sent to eocevent588@cdc.gov.

 

Availability of Over-The-Counter Tests

The CDC and ASPR currently are not distributing OTC tests directly to state health departments. There is an ongoing distribution program of 50 million OTC tests to community health centers/federally qualified health centers, food banks and rural health clinics. Email eocevent588@cdc.gov with inquiries about this federal distribution of OTC tests. The administration also is in the process of acquiring and distributing 500 million OTC tests. Plans are taking shape to send these tests directly to households at no cost once they are available. There currently are no plans to distribute them through state health departments.

 

Availability of Point-of-Care Tests

The distribution of POC tests to nursing homes and long-term care facilities is intended to supplement existing testing capabilities for staff testing. NHs and LTCFs that receive POC tests directly from the manufacturer will continue to receive them while their facility meets all eligibility criteria. These allocations are based on a data-driven strategy that considers both CMS staffing estimates, as well as current positivity rates by county. As new data on positivity rates or outbreak status become available, allocation sizes will be adjusted accordingly.

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