Lawrence Bill to Expand Coronavirus Testing Passes House

John Lawrence

HARRISBURG, PA — Legislation prioritizing COVID-19 testing for first responders, medical professionals and vulnerable populations passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives yesterday by a vote of 201-1.

Introduced by Rep. John Lawrence (R-West Grove), House Bill 2455 establishes a comprehensive framework for statewide COVID-19 testing and gives local health departments greater latitude to implement coronavirus testing that complies with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance.

“I drafted House Bill 2455 after learning Chester County purchased thousands of COVID-19 test kits, but red tape at the state Department of Health blocked our county from using the tests to screen first responders and medical professionals for the coronavirus,” said Lawrence. “This legislation authorizes any local health department, including those in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, to proceed with testing that meets appropriate FDA guidelines.”

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House Bill 2455 was amended by House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom) to require the governor to review statewide COVID-19 testing capacity, and issue a plan to test Pennsylvania’s first responders, health care workers and other vulnerable populations.

“Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine and Gov. Tom Wolf have been very clear that expanded testing is the key to returning to work, schools and places of worship,” said Cutler. “We should empower health departments in all corners of the state to do what’s necessary to protect their communities, and this bill does just that.”

House Bill 2455 goes to the Senate for further consideration.

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