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Higgins calls on coronavirus czar to urgently provide test kits to communities

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Wed, Mar 18th 2020 10:00 am

WNY 'quickly running out of tests'

In a letter to Admr. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of health and human services and coronavirus czar, Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, is demanding the Trump administration address the urgent need for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test kits.

Higgins wrote, “This administration should be acting in a proactive way to help communities plan to address this crisis responsibly. It is horrifying that at this time we must instead beg for your attention. Our nation is already significantly behind the curve in our response to this public health crisis, and we cannot afford further delays in testing.”

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, in public communications and in discussions with Higgins, expressed concern about the dire shortage of COVID-19 testing kits. New York state was able to provide an additional 200 tests, but that will only get the county through the next couple days.

In his letter, Higgins went on to write, “If requisition orders for COVID-19 testing supplies from the CDC or other agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are crowding out the ability of local public health departments to obtain their own supply, that represents a serious threat to the health and safety of people in my district and around the country. HHS must immediately re-evaluate the process by which it is obtaining COVID-19 testing materials and distributing them to state and local public health officials, and guarantee the ability of those officials to receive a steady supply of testing materials in a timely fashion.”

The House of Representatives approved two pieces of legislation to address the COVID-19 outbreak providing funding for testing, resources for states and localities, support for research and relief for individuals and small business.

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