NEW YORK – The American Association for Clinical Chemistry sent a letter to US Senate leadership Wednesday offering recommendations for improving SARS-CoV-2 testing capacity that it says should be included in the newest coronavirus relief bill.
Carmen Wiley, president of the AACC, laid out five recommendations in the letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and urged the Senate to address these issues in the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, claiming they're necessary to prevent a second wave of the pandemic.
The AACC recommends improving coordination across all levels of government to develop an integrated testing strategy, including establishing shared terminology, specifying necessary resources, and creating benchmarks for measuring progress; ensuring manufacturing and distribution of supplies, such as swabs, reagents, and personal protective equipment, to laboratories; increasing funding for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to rebuild public health infrastructure by hiring employees, implementing response strategies, and adopting useful reporting measures; expanding serological testing while certifying the quality of serological tests and providing adequate reimbursement for the tests; and continuing financial aid for healthcare providers impacted by the pandemic.
The organization added that it supports creating a method to allow healthcare facilities to report inventory levels as a way to help the government allocate resources.
In a statement AACC noted that over the past week, an average of 386,000 coronavirus tests were performed each day, well short of the 900,000 tests per day required to achieve a continued decline in the number of COVID-19 cases, according to researchers from Harvard's Global Health Institute.
The HEROES Act, which passed through the House but faces serious opposition in the Senate, would provide $1 trillion to state and local governments, expand family and medical leave, and unemployment compensation.
Additionally, it would provide housing assistance and tax credits, eliminate cost sharing for COVID-19 treatment, establish a fund to give essential workers hazard pay, and provide additional direct payments up to $1,200 per person, among a variety of other measures.