Trump administration allocates $11B for COVID-19 testing as faster tests get approved

The Trump administration will provide $11 billion to states to ramp up testing capabilities to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

States will need to determine goals for testing not only people who are sick but also how they will provide contact tracing to outline the spread of any infection, senior administration officials told reporters Monday.

The funding is from the CARES Act that included $2.2 trillion in economic relief funding.

Senior officials defended the ramp-up amid criticism that the administration was too slow to speed up testing.

“We believe after this week will pass 10 million tests performed,” an official said. “We have done a tremendous number and that number is starting to accelerate even quicker.”

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Officials added that they are working to shore up the supply of reagents needed to perform the tests.

President Donald Trump said during remarks at the White House Monday that the administration will also provide 12.9 million swabs over the next month amid questions about whether there are enough supplies to do the testing.

Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Brett Giroir, M.D., said Monday that states will have to be “very specific” in their testing plans.

They need to plan how to perform testing in vulnerable communities such as nursing homes, prisons and working environments that are likely to spread infection, Giroir said.

The Food and Drug Administration also approved Friday a new rapid antigen test from Quidel.

More funding could be coming to states to shore up testing. Congress a few weeks ago passed legislation that provided $25 billion for the development of tests.