Inslee letter to Pence calls for strong national testing system

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Gov. Jay Inslee sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence today requesting federal assistance to develop a robust national testing system to enable a safe return to public life amid COVID-19.

"We share your goal of a safe return to normal social and economic activity over time. Individuals, families, businesses, and communities are counting on leaders at all levels to work together to ensure this process is carried out in a manner that keeps the public safe and minimizes the risk of viral resurgence. This recovery can only happen safely, however, with the assurance of a strong national testing system that does not exist today.

“On April 20, your Administration provided governors with a list of in-state laboratories in an attempt to illustrate states’ apparent existing capacity. But this does nothing to answer the repeated calls from governors to address the lack of swabs, viral transport media, reagents, and other supplies and personnel needed to take advantage of that lab capacity. … Just as a driver cannot travel their full distance on a quarter-tank of gas, we cannot unlock the full capacity of our labs without additional testing supplies and infrastructure from the federal government."

The letter requests the federal government take a number of steps to rapidly build a robust national testing system, including the establishment of an at-home testing program, additional surveillance testing and validation of serological tests, and usage of the Defense Production Act to ensure an adequate supply of swabs, viral transport media, reagents and other supplies.

Read the full letter.

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