Gardner, Bennet lead effort to ramp up COVID-19 testing

Colorado Sens. Cory Gardner, a Republican, and Michael Bennet, a Democrat, are leading the congressional effort to strengthen preparedness to detect and prevent outbreaks and avoid the economic blowout that comes with them.

Gardner and Bennet are joined by Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and Democratic Sen Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona as sponsors of the Timely and Effective Systematic Testing (TEST) Act.

“In order to fully beat the COVID-19 pandemic, we must be able to rapidly and accurately see where the illness is and is not,” Gardner said in a statement. “The TEST Act provides the key components of detecting and preventing outbreaks. I’m proud to partner with my colleagues Senators Bennet, Romney, and Sinema to enhance our capability to contain COVID-19 and improve our capacity to respond to future outbreaks.”

The bill's sponsors worked with Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration under President Trump, to draft the legislation.

“In order to combat COVID-19 and safely reopen our economy at the same time, we need a nationwide, coordinated system to track cases,” stated Bennet. “The TEST Act would help integrate local and federal reporting systems by breaking down current silos to better monitor COVID-19 cases and virus outbreaks. This bill builds on my proposal to create a Health Force to bolster public health infrastructure and train Americans to fight this virus, and would ensure all levels of government have the best systems to report data. The TEST Act will help instill confidence in the economy as we start to reopen.”

The proposal comes amid criticism of the Trump White House's handling of outbreak, including its slow, piecemeal rollout for testing and reopening that have led to more than 123,000 U.S. deaths as of Thursday afternoon, including more than 1,500 in Colorado.

“If enacted, this legislation would ensure that we are able to collect data in a seamless manner from all laboratory settings, including demographic data that is critical to addressing health disparities,” Dr. Stefano Bertuzzi, CEO of the American Society for Microbiology, explaining it would improve the nation's ability to respond to COVID-19 and future pandemics.

Among others endorsing the legislation are he Colorado Hospital Association, the Colorado Regional Health Information Organization, the National Restaurant Association, the National Retail Federation, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the International Franchise Association, the U.S. Travel Association, the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association.


By: Joey Bunch

Colorado Politics