HARTFORD—U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), along with U.S. Representatives John Larson (CT-1), Rosa DeLauro (CT-2), Jim Himes (CT-3), Joe Courtney (CT-4) and Jahana Hayes (CT-5) sent a letter to Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to express concern about the lack of COVID-19 diagnostic testing kits provided to Connecticut. While Connecticut has not experienced a confirmed case of COVID-19, cases in neighboring states continue to be reported. On Thursday, Governor Ned Lamont also requested that the CDC provide additional testing kits for Connecticut.
“At this time, our state – home to 3.5 million people – only has sufficient diagnostic kits to test just over 500 individuals, and as the state moves to expand its capacity to test specimens beyond the state laboratory in Rocky Hill, Connecticut to private sector laboratories and the state’s hospitals, it is critical that access to diagnostic testing kits becomes a reality,” members wrote.
The full text of the letter can be found below:
Dear Dr. Redfield,
We write today to express concern with the very limited supply of COVID-19 diagnostic testing kits that have been sent to the state of Connecticut. Although Connecticut does not have a confirmed case of COVID-19, cases in neighboring states continue to be reported and Connecticut public health officials are alarmed that the broader testing guidelines announced by the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) could lead to a shortage of testing kits in the state. We request that CDC respond to Connecticut’s request for access to additional testing kits as quickly as possible.
On March 4, CDC issued new guidance allowing clinicians to use their judgement to determine whether or not a symptomatic patient should be tested, inevitably expanding the number of individuals who will be evaluated for COVID-19. While this is a promising step that would seemingly allow for greater testing, diagnosis, and surveillance of individuals with COVID-19, Connecticut officials warn that greater testing is simply not possible without greater access to testing kits. At this time, our state – home to 3.5 million people – only has sufficient diagnostic kits to test just over 500 individuals, and as the state moves to expand its capacity to test specimens beyond the state laboratory in Rocky Hill, Connecticut to private sector laboratories and the state’s hospitals, it is critical that access to diagnostic testing kits becomes a reality.
This week, Congress approved and President Trump signed a bipartisan $8.3 billion emergency supplemental, providing billions in funds that can be used to improve testing capabilities at the state level and support diagnostic test development. These funds are absolutely necessary to bolstering federal, state, and local government efforts to respond to this unprecedented challenge, and we look forward to CDC working with Connecticut officials to guarantee that the state has access to the necessary number of diagnostics testing kits as we confront this crisis together.