ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan on Thursday announced the acquisition of 250,000 rapid point-of-care antigen tests, which will be deployed to nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and correctional and juvenile detention centers across the state. The purchase makes Maryland, the founding member of the bipartisan interstate testing compact with the Rockefeller Foundation, the first state in the compact to move forward with an order for rapid antigen tests.
Nearly all of the ten states participating in the compact—the first of its kind among governors during the COVID-19 pandemic—have signed letters of commitment for the purchase of these rapid tests.
The governor made Thursday’s announcement during a visit to Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD)—the manufacturer of the BD Veritor tests purchased by the State of Maryland, and one of two U.S manufacturers of rapid antigen tests that have already been authorized by the FDA—at their Baltimore County facility. He was joined by Dr. Rajiv Shah, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, and Dave Hickey, Worldwide President of Integrated Diagnostic Solutions at BD.
“This state-of-the-art rapid testing will be critically important to our continued economic recovery and will also help to keep the people of our state safe,” said Governor Hogan. “I’m pleased to announce that Maryland will be the first state in the bipartisan interstate testing compact to move forward with an order with Becton Dickinson for the purchase of the first 250,000 of these rapid tests, along with the diagnostic machines used to process the tests onsite.”
Rapid point-of-care antigen tests, which can deliver results onsite in just 15-20 minutes, are one of the best tools available to help better detect outbreaks more quickly and expand long-term testing in congregate settings. The State of Maryland plans to deploy rapid tests to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, in order to test all residents and staff, and to state correctional and juvenile detention centers. In addition, the state is currently in discussions to send rapid tests to college and university dormitories and campuses.
In his remarks, the governor noted that rapid tests do not take the place of the state’s PCR diagnostic tests, which continue to be the backbone of Maryland’s long-term testing strategy, which has successfully completed more than 2.1 million tests for nearly 25 percent of the state’s population.
“No one should have to choose between doing their job and doing their part to end this pandemic,” said Dr. Shah. “Beating back this pandemic requires a massive scale up of rapid screening testing to 200 million a month. Right now as a country heading into flu season, we aren’t even at 30 million a month. That’s why the leadership and commitment shown by Governor Hogan—and all 10 governors in the compact—is critical to giving workers, teachers, students, and vulnerable people the confidence they need to be safe until a vaccine is proven effective and widely available.”
Since its launch in early August, the interstate compact now includes ten states—split equally between Democratic and Republican governors—that are working together to purchase 500,000 antigen tests per state, for a total of five million tests.
Members of the Bipartisan Interstate Testing Compact
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R)
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R)
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D)
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R)
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D)
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D)
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo (D)
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R)
Utah Governor Gary Herbert (R)
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D)