Dear Vice President Pence:
The undersigned organizations, who represent laboratory professionals from regional, community, academic, hospital and public health laboratories, thank you for your leadership in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to threaten the United States. We write to ask the White House Coronavirus Task Force (Task Force) to address several ongoing obstacles we face in performing diagnostic and serology tests for COVID-19.
Our members are on the front lines responding to the public health crisis. Since our members were first able to start testing for COVID-19 they have experienced significant difficulty acquiring the supplies— test kits, nasopharyngeal and mid-turbinate swabs, transport media, and personal protective equipment (PPE)—needed to perform COVID-19 testing. Without proper testing supplies and PPE, our members continue to struggle to meet the demand for COVID-19 testing and help track its spread across our communities. At times, our members have even received faulty or unusable equipment, including swabs from the Strategic National Stockpile, which has further impeded our work to combat this pandemic. As the virus surges, states and localities need to increase their testing capacity. With sufficient testing supplies, our members would be able to increase testing capacity and conduct more COVID-19 tests—a goal we know is shared by the Task Force. We respectfully request the following assistance:
- A list of the name and contact information for individuals in each state who are overseeing the supply chain for testing supplies and PPE.
- Visibility into the process of supply allocation, demonstrating that the supplies being distributed at the state level are being allocated in a way that reflects the greatest need to effectively address COVID-19 in the US.
It is our understanding that the federal government is working with specific individuals in each state to direct the distribution of federally-allocated laboratory testing supplies and PPE. However, many of our members report they are unable to identify or initiate contact with these individuals. To facilitate communication between laboratories on the front lines and those directing the distribution of equipment, we respectfully request a list of the name and contact information for individuals in each state who are overseeing this supply chain. If there are concerns in releasing the list broadly, our organizations offer to be a conduit between those directing supply distribution in each state and our members who so urgently need access to supplies and equipment.
Additionally, there is a need for laboratories to understand in real-time, resource availability and reagent and supply quantities for planning purposes, and therefore, we request that the federal government take a leading role in increasing transparency about the availability of these materials from both government and commercial manufacturers. Further, we ask that you and your colleagues on the White House Coronavirus Task Force work to ensure that the supplies that are being distributed at the state level are being allocated in a way that reflects the greatest need to effectively address COVID-19 in the US. This includes ensuring that skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, hospital-based laboratories, and regional laboratories have access to testing supplies when requests are made.
Our members are working tirelessly to combat COVID-19 in the communities they serve. We need your help to manage the supply chain and ensure they have the tools they need to do their job. If you have questions or require further information, please contact Erin Morton at email@example.com
American Association of Bioanalysts
American Association for Clinical Chemistry
American Medical Technologists
American Society for Microbiology
Association of Public Health Laboratories
Association for Molecular Pathology
College of American Pathologists
National Independent Laboratory Association