Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ11) joined with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ9), leading a letter from Members of Congress urging the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to establish an official coding or labeling system for the prioritization of COVID-19 tests.
A standard system for health care providers and testing centers to label samples sent to commercial laboratories would ensure laboratories have the information necessary to prioritize the samples for health care workers and first responders, as well as those most at-risk for complications, such as hospitalized patients and nursing home residents. It would also save our hospitals and health care providers the personal protective equipment used in the days they wait for COVID-19 testing results to arrive from commercial laboratories.
“The emergence of testing centers in our state is putting even more pressure on commercial laboratories, despite their best efforts to increase capacity to keep pace with the pandemic,” the lawmakers wrote. “Given the insurmountable challenge of laboratory capacity being outpaced by the number of cases, it is essential to establish a prioritization framework for both our health care providers and laboratories.”
The letter was also signed by Sen. Cory A. Booker and Reps. Albio Sires (D-NJ8), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ5), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ10), Joe Neguse (D-CO2), and Danny K. Davis (D-IL07).
The full text of the letter can be found here.