COVID-19: Community-Based Testing Sites

You can be independent or request support from FEMA.

by Eric Holdeman / April 14, 2020

Testing has been and remains the major bugaboo in obtaining good situational awareness for what is happening in the community. Until now, generally it was only people exhibiting symptoms who could be tested. Given that many people who are shedding the virus with no symptoms, that is why more testing of the general population is needed. 

See below for one segment of a FEMA COVID-19 status report. Note that previously they claimed 85,000 tests having been completed. We will need millions of tests done weekly to really know what is going on with the virus in a nation as geographically dispersed and with 325M people. 

  • Beginning April 10, HHS and FEMA will work with states with federal Community-Based Testing Sites (CBTS) to clarify whether sites want to continue as they are now, or transition to full state control.
    • Under state control, CBTS sites would still receive technical assistance from the federal government and be able to request supplies through the normal FEMA systems.
    • Leadership at both HHS and FEMA will consider approving extension requests by states that need additional federal assistance to manage and operate sites. A formal notice to continue must be submitted to the CBTS Task Force Leader, by either the state’s Governor or his or her representative, no later than April 9.
    • The federal government will continue supporting each site through the transition process to ensure that the states can fully manage and operate their CBTS program independently. This includes providing each site with enough supplies to continue to operate for 7-14 days after the agreed-upon transition date.
    • After transition, states can choose to source testing kits and supplies through their standard ordering process or to request assistance from FEMA using the standard Resource Request Process through the appropriate FEMA Region.
    • States may also seek reimbursement for eligible expenses associated with running their sites through FEMA’s Public Assistance program. In general, activities local and state governments are conducting at CBTS are eligible for reimbursement under the Public Assistance program, subject to a cost share.
    • To date, Community-Based Testing Sites have screened over 85,000 individuals.
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