Drive-through coronavirus testing will soon be available in every state, the Trump administration vowed Sunday, according to the Washington Examiner.
The federal government will support state-led efforts to provide anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 drive-through tests for COVID-19 every day, said Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health and head of the U.S. Public Health Service. The step is part of a furious push nationwide to speed up testing and contain a surging number of coronavirus cases and deaths.
“We believe we’ve created a model base on the public health and the FEMA system that is optimized that can be used for drive-through or potentially walk-through,” Giroir said, according to the Examiner.
Nationwide drive-through testing
The Trump administration has been working with states and private companies to make up for lost time after various issues botched efforts to detect COVID-19 early on. A problem with the test kits from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and policies dictating who can be tested interrupted early initiatives and left critics complaining that the Trump administration had missed an opportunity to detect and isolate the virus before things became critical.
At a press conference Sunday, Trump’s coronavirus task force hailed a “new phase of testing” that would move more quickly. The Trump administration will support efforts to expand drive-through testing to all 50 states, allowing anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 people every day to be tested at each of those sites, according to The Hill.
“This is not make believe, this is not fantasy. We’ve developed a model, we’ve talked to the states, we’re focusing in on specific locations now,” Giroir said. “We will have the capability of testing tens of thousands of additional people through these sites every week in addition to all the capability that’s now going to be distributed in the 2000 laboratories in the major central core laboratories.”
Expanding virus detection efforts
Getting a drive-through test won’t be quite like grabbing a McChicken, however. At most sites, patients will need to get medical approval first and make an appointment, The Hill reports. Tests will be prioritized for the elderly and most vulnerable populations.
Drive-through testing is already underway in a handful of states. New York state got its first drive-through site in the town of New Rochelle, the site of its worst outbreak, on Friday, according to the New York Post. The administration is also working with private companies to make testing available at sites located in parking lots, Vice President Mike Pence said.
Administration response continues
President Trump has taken increasingly drastic measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate its economic impact, as countless Americans are holed up at home, and businesses suffer a steep drop in commerce. He declared a national emergency on Friday and extended a set of guidelines for all Americans to follow on Monday, as state governments continued to close bars, restaurants, and schools.
Among other measures, Trump called on Americans to avoid gatherings larger than 10 people, cease dining out at restaurants and postpone visits to other public venues. The guidelines came amid rumors of a 14-day national quarantine, but Trump downplayed speculation of such.
Health officials such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the public face of the administration’s virus response, have urged Americans to practice “social distancing” to help “flatten the curve” and mitigate the spread. Fauci made the sobering admission last week that testing so far has been a “failing,” and he has been unsparing in his warnings of the “suffering and death” that may lie ahead for many Americans.
But it looks like the Trump administration may be finally turning a corner in terms of getting this crisis under control.