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McMurray calls for national plan for COVID-19 testing

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

Today, Nate McMurray, candidate for U.S. Congress in NY-27, called on President Trump’s administration to adopt a national COVID-19 response plan that would test, track and treat across all 50 states.

McMurray also criticized his opponent State Senator Chris Jacobs for his lack of leadership in the midst of the pandemic following a WBEN interview on  Sunday, where Jacobs downplayed the need for widely available, comprehensive testing.  

“The President must follow-through on his March 6th promise to provide tests for all Americans; to date, only 1 percent of the nation has been tested and national laboratories are citing critical funding and material shortages to produce more tests," McMurray said. "It is un-American to leave states without support in this unprecedented crisis as the death toll continues to rise.

"We need a unified strategy if we’re going to beat this thing together; not 50 different strategies that leave our families unnecessarily vulnerable, and prolong us reopening the economy in a sustainable way. Meanwhile, Chris Jacobs is dangerously laxed over the urgency of the situation and pandering to the President because he’s afraid to put party politics aside to fight for the safety of Western New Yorkers."

According to the COVID Tracking Project, last week the country performed about 860,000 tests but experts say millions of tests per week are needed. While states like California and Oregon have rolled out plans that include widespread testing as a prerequisite for reopening, there is no comprehensive national plan or guidelines in place. 

“We failed to implement widespread testing as a country months ago, which only keeps American families from getting back to work," McMurray said. "Jacobs can personally afford to ignore the urgency here and vote against COVID-19 funding like he recently did in the State Senate because, unlike so many living in NY-27, he has access to quality health care and cannot relate to someone who would need paid sick leave.

"We absolutely cannot continue to wing this. We need a national, Marshall plan that summons the mighty power of this nation. Countries with much less affluence and technological advantage are far out-performing the United States in response to this pandemic."

McMurray supports the following: 

1) Expanding the capacity to conduct rapid same-day testing for everyone with COVID-19 symptoms. The Center for Disease Control (CDC), in collaboration with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) should be fully engaged to ensure all states have access to testing and required testing materials.

2) Ensuring tests are free. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Labor should oversee this effort and be the point of contact for patients that were charged for a test. 

3) Strengthening the testing supply chain to incentivize the production of testing supplies and PPE for our healthcare workers within the United States and require HHS and FEMA to conduct weekly reporting about potential shortages.

4) Implementing surveillance (test & trace) systems nationwide and enabling the CDC to provide COVID-19 surveillance grants, which will allow states flexibility in how they achieve test & trace of samples of the population, and identify small outbreaks early, especially in populations where there is a higher risk of contracting or transmitting the virus.

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