6 states including Virginia join compact to expand rapid antigen testing

Hugo Marti, James Donald

Lab technician James Donald, right, uses a nasal swab to test Hugo Marti for COVID-19, Tuesday, July 28, 2020, at the AHEPA Apartments in Miami. Miami-Dade County Commissioner Esteban “Steve” Bovo and Prime Care Family Medical Centers opened the free testing site to test the residents of the senior apartments. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Gov. Ralph Northam joined a six-state agreement that will put Virginia on the path to purchase 500,000 rapid, point-of-care antigen tests.

Those joining Northam in the agreement are Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

This represents the first interstate testing compact of its kind among governors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The six states are now in formal discussions with Becton Dickinson and Quidel, the U.S. manufacturers of antigen tests that have already been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, to purchase 500,000 rapid antigen tests per state which deliver results in 15 to 20 minutes.

“We are bringing together this bipartisan, multi-state coalition to combine our purchasing power and get rapid testing supplies to our communities as quickly as possible,” said Northam.

“The people in our six states want to see action, and together, we’re delivering.”

This interstate cooperative purchasing agreement will provide a unique platform to purchase tests and associated supplies in a sustainable and cost-effective manner.

In addition, the states will coordinate on policies and protocols regarding rapid antigen testing technology.

The Rockefeller Foundation will assist in facilitating financing mechanisms to support this large-scale interstate testing compact.

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