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Maryland Delegation Members Call for the National Capital Region to Be Designated a Federally Supported COVID-19 Testing Site

April 28, 2020
Press Release

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) joined Congressmen Anthony G. Brown, Steny Hoyer, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Andy Harris M.D, David Trone and U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (all MD) in writing President Donald Trump to request the Administration deliver on its commitment to designate the National Capital Region as a federally supported COVID-19 testing site. This designation would make federal facilities available to Maryland to expand the state’s testing capacity. Ramping up testing efforts is essential to safely reopening the state’s economy and protecting public health.

The state of Maryland includes several federal facilities that can support testing including: Aberdeen Proving Ground, Fort Detrick, Fort Meade, the National Institutes of Health and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Maryland recently procured testing components to help the state conduct approximately 500,000 additional tests, but require swabs, viral media transports, and additional reagents to utilize those kits. These labs could substantially increase Maryland’s ability to process these tests.

“The region is crucial to the national response in providing medical guidance, granting research funds for treatments, issuing tax rebates, guaranteeing our distribution networks are operational, and other crucial functions,” wrote the lawmakers. “As such, it is even more critical that this region have the testing capacity that it needs, in order to ensure the federal government continues to operate at full capacity, and that we prevent any secondary impacts that would result in further loss of life.”

Read the full letter below.

April 28, 2020

Dear President Trump: 

The COVID-19 pandemic is a health crisis on a scale the United States of America has not witnessed in over a century. The high rate of transmission for the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the significant mortality rate from the associated disease threaten every corner of our nation. In order to be able to first mitigate the outbreak and subsequently begin restarting our economy, we must utilize the full and complete testing resources that we have at the federal and state level. 

The National Capital Region is especially critical to the operation of our federal government, and having access to adequate levels of testing supports the entire nation’s ability to respond to this crisis. The region is crucial to the national response in providing medical guidance, granting research funds for treatments, issuing tax rebates, guaranteeing our distribution networks are operational, and other crucial functions. As such, it is even more critical that this region have the testing capacity that it needs, in order to ensure the federal government continues to operate at full capacity, and that we prevent any secondary impacts that would result in further loss of life. 

The State of Maryland is the home of leading federal health laboratories that could be used to reinforce the state level testing capacity, including Aberdeen Proving Ground, Fort Detrick, Fort Meade, the National Institutes of Health, and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. These labs can be key to ensuring the state’s recovery plan is successful and we get Marylanders back to work as safely and quickly as possible. Vice President Pence stated on April 20, 2020 that “we will make all of those laboratories available across the country to every state as the need for testing capacity continues to scale.” We ask that you follow up on this commitment by designating the National Capital Region as a federally supported COVID-19 testing site, making these facilities available to the state for testing as soon as possible, and providing us a timeline for implementation and the capacity made available to the state at each facility. 

We express our full support as a partner in addressing this national crisis and will continue to work with you to ensure that our constituencies and our nation have the resources necessary to test for this pandemic. 

Sincerely,

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