Kathy Castor to HHS: More Reagents Needed in Florida to Stop the COVID-19 Pandemic

With COVID-19 continuing to impact the Sunshine State, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., is warning the federal government about a lack of testing supplies.

Last week, Castor urged the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D. to increase production and delivery of supplies immediately and in a sustained fashion.

“The Trump and DeSantis administrations continue to refuse to step up and implement a coordinated strategy to control the spread of the virus and secure necessary supplies for the needed widespread and rapid testing and tracing plan. Health providers at the local level are seriously hampered by sustained month-after-month shortages of reagents and other testing components, and the endless competition for necessary supplies,” Castor’s office insisted.

Castor’s letter is below:

Dear Assistant Secretary Giroir,

The key to safely reopening Florida’s economy and the rest of the United States and to keeping our neighbors healthy is widespread and rapid testing. With the sustained high numbers of Floridians testing positive for COVID-19, we need to ensure timely test results to allow contact tracers to do their jobs and help stop the spread of this virus. Unfortunately, I am hearing from health providers in my community and across the state that they are in dire need of reagents to process tests. I strongly encourage you to work with testing manufacturers to boost productions, so our health providers can get the reagents they need to help us control and contain COVID-19 in our state. Lives are on the line.

As you know, a consistent and sufficient supply of chemicals used in the testing process is vital. I have heard that communication from vendors to health providers regarding timing and quality of delivery of reagents is inconsistent and lacking in many cases, which makes it increasingly difficult for medical professionals to devise and implement testing strategies in our communities. I have been told that some providers’ supply of reagents is only at 0-2 days. This inconsistency and low level of supply in a state with significant needs and increasing demand is very concerning because it directly impacts our ability to meet the health care needs across Florida.

I urge you to work with manufacturers to increase production of reagents, enhance communication between health providers and manufacturers and ensure resources are prioritized in hot spots like Florida. In order for my neighbors to be able to make decisions for their families, fight this pandemic and start building back our economy, we must ensure health professionals have the supplies to conduct rapid, widespread and timely testing. Thank you for your consideration.

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