As COVID-19 cases increase around the world, the governors of Delaware, New Jersey and Rhode Island have agreed to work together on COVID-19 testing guidance in an effort to safely re-open economies in all three states.
In a joint statement issued Friday by Delaware Gov. John Carney, Rhode Island Gov. Gina M. Raimondo and New Jersey Gov. Philip Murphy, they said the importance of early identification of cases that are asymptomatic — meaning the infected person has no symptoms — is key to stopping the spread of the SARS-CoV-19 virus.
The statement said that while experts recommend increased access to testing, there is no uniform federal guidance about how to do it or how to pay for it.
“Our states have worked together to develop a common approach to testing among high-risk, high-priority populations even when they are asymptomatic,” the statement said.
The science-based plan follows the lead of other countries that have used testing to curtail the virus, the statement said.
It be guided by six principles:
- Prevent the transmission of SARS-CoV-2.
- Inform infection control measures in high-risk settings.
- Protect high-risk populations, especially those living and working in high-risk settings.
- Provide predictability for all residents.
- Allow flexibility to respond to urgent needs.
- Ensure wise use of limited resources.
The governors did not offer any more specifics about paying for the testing or how that testing will, or is, taking place.
More than half of a million tests have been administered in Delaware.
With New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer starting the hunt for a widespread testing partner in Delaware, the state settled on Curative and since has sponsored hundreds of drive-thru and pop-up testings, asking the public to be tested whether they had symptoms or not. The state now offers those testings, as well permanent testing sites in all three counties with tests available every day of the week.
State health officials hope to test as many as 80,000 people in October alone.
“Since Day 1 of this crisis, we have been using the science to guide our public health response to COVID-19,” said Delaware Gov. John Carney in the press release issuing the statement. “Widely available testing is the best way to monitor spread of this virus, and address potential outbreaks. … I am confident that a strong and unified approach to COVID-19 testing will help to keep more of our residents safe and healthy, and our economies moving forward.”