Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced Tuesday that Ohio is entering into a multi-state purchasing agreement with the Rockefeller Foundation to expand the use of rapid point-of-care tests for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
DeWine joins a bipartisan group of five other governors to form the first coordinated testing strategy in the nation, including Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D), Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D).
“Over the past week, we have conducted an average of 22,334 COVID-19 tests a day with Ohio’s current testing procedure, but rapid point-of-care tests are faster, simpler, and less expensive,” DeWine said.
By banding together, the states are demonstrating to private manufacturers that there is significant demand to scale up the production of these tests, which deliver results in 15-20 minutes, according to the Rockefeller Foundation. With today’s agreement, the states are in discussions with Becton Dickinson and Quidel—the U.S. manufacturers of antigen tests that have already been authorized by the FDA—to purchase 500,000 tests per state, for a total of three million tests.
More rapid point-of-care testing will help Ohio detect outbreaks sooner with faster turnaround time, expand testing in congregate settings, and make testing more accessible for the most high-risk and hard-hit communities, according to DeWine.
The 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.
“Expanding the use of this testing will serve as an important screening tool and a critical addition to our plan to limit the spread of COVID-19,” DeWine added. “Time is of the essence, which is why I am pleased to join with my fellow governors to work together to expand the use of rapid, point-of-care antigen tests in order to help to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our states.”