Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam in announcing a major bipartisan interstate compact with the Rockefeller Foundation to expand the use of rapid point-of-care antigen tests to slow the spread of COVID-19 and continue safely reopening the states.
As the nation continues to face severe testing shortages and delays, this is the first interstate testing compact of its kind among governors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Hogan, in his final days as chair of the National Governors Association, negotiated the compact with the Rockefeller Foundation. The initial agreement includes six governors — three Republicans and three Democrats — and additional states, cities, and local governments may join the compact in the coming days and weeks.
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. 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 3 million tests.
Through this interstate compact, states are coming together to ramp up the use of rapid antigen testing to help better detect outbreaks more quickly, and expand long-term testing in congregate settings such as schools, workplaces, and nursing homes.
This 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.
The Rockefeller Foundation stands ready to assist in facilitating financing mechanisms to support this large-scale interstate testing compact.
“This bipartisan partnership will help us protect our families, the heroes on the front lines of this crisis, small businesses, and our most vulnerable communities,” said Whitmer. “Widespread testing is one of the most crucial tools we have to stop the spread of this virus and save lives. I’m proud of the bipartisan work governors across the state have done to protect our regions from COVID-19. I’m hopeful that the president and Congress will follow our lead and work together on a recovery package that includes support for states like ours so we can continue to protect our families.”
To view the governors’ signed letter of intent to the Rockefeller Foundation, click here.