U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette has introduced two pieces of legislation designed to boost COVID-19 diagnostic testing through $750 million of grants at public health laboratories, hospitals and other health providers.

“In order to save American lives — and safely reopen the country — we need widespread, rapid and precise coronavirus testing. However, too many communities still lack capacity and equipment,” DeGette said. 

DeGette authored the bills with U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind. The first, the Rapid Testing for Communities Act, would set aside half of a billion dollars for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to award to hospitals, primary care facilities, physicians and other providers of healthcare to purchase “legally-marketed rapid diagnostic testing” equipment. The money would also go toward obtaining equipment to process the tests, including for antibody tests that determine whether a person had COVID-19 previously.

The second bill, the Diagnostic Testing for Public Health Labs Act, would set aside $250,000 million for diagnostic testing purchases for state, local and tribal health laboratories. The proposal caps grants at $2 million, and the limit is $20,000 for grantees under the Rapid Testing for Communities bill.

DeGette's office clarified that the high-throughput diagnostic testing equipment mentioned in the bills can simultaneously tests thousands of samples for COVID-19.

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