For Immediate Release
Silver Spring, Maryland, January 21, 2021 — The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) welcomed actions taken today by President Joe Biden to dramatically scale up the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“In a series of directives, the president outlined a new national strategy to address the pandemic,” said Scott Becker, chief executive officer of APHL. “These steps will substantially boost testing and laboratory capacity, address chronic supply chain issues and improve reporting and collection of data to help further guide the public health response.”
Steps outlined by the new administration include creating a Pandemic Testing Board to better coordinate testing, provide consistent guidance to states and dramatically expand testing capacity. The plans will also strengthen the reporting and collection of data to help guide the public health response, address chronic supply chain issues, including shortages of collection swabs, plastics, reagents, personal protective equipment and other essential laboratory supplies, and strengthen the public health work force.
“Case counts and deaths due to the SARS-CoV-2 virus have eclipsed levels unimaginable just months ago. We have been at this for almost a year and clearly something needs to change,” said Becker. “This reboot of our national response in a true partnership with states and localities will address many of our current challenges and help us better contain the virus.”
The administration has also announced the creation of a health equity task force to help ensure underserved communities, which have been disproportionately affected by the virus, have access to COVID-19 services, and rejoining the World Health Organization, which will strengthen global health and laboratory systems.
“We applaud this evidence-based public health approach to the pandemic,” said Becker. “Expanding testing along with social distancing, regular mask use and hand hygiene are part of a comprehensive public health approach that will allow us to more quickly stop the spread of this deadly virus and enable our communities to safely reopen schools and businesses and resume other daily life activities.
“APHL looks forward to working with our federal, state and local partners to help implement these plans and ensure that adequate funding is available to help public health laboratories meet the need.”
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The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) works to strengthen laboratory systems serving the public’s health in the U.S. and globally. APHL’s member laboratories protect the public’s health by monitoring and detecting infectious and foodborne diseases, environmental contaminants, terrorist agents, genetic disorders in newborns and other diverse health threats. Learn more at www.aphl.org.
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