Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced 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.
This is the first interstate testing compact of its kind among governors during the Covid-19 pandemic. Governor 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 three 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.