Lawrence Bill to Expand COVID-19 Testing Passes Committee

State Public Health Laboratory in Exton Tests for COVID-19State Public Health Laboratory in Exton Tests for COVID-19; Pennsylvania Commonwealth microbiologist Kerry Pollard performs a manual extraction of the coronavirus inside the extraction lab at the Pennsylvania Department of Health Bureau of Laboratories.

HARRISBURG, PA — Legislation passed yesterday that would facilitate rapid COVID-19 testing for Chester County’s health care workers and first responders. Introduced by Rep. John Lawrence (R-West Grove), House Bill 2455 gives Chester County the green light to implement Coronavirus antibody testing that complies with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance.

The Chester County Health Department recently purchased thousands of test kits from Advaite, a biotech firm based in Malvern. The kits have been independently verified by Labcorp to be 97% accurate and comply with guidance issued by the FDA to facilitate the rapid expansion of COVID-19 testing.

While the Chester County Health Department is ready to immediately implement testing, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has refused to allow the testing to proceed.

“House Bill 2455 provides specific authorization to allow Chester County to move forward with Coronavirus testing for our heroic first responders,” said Lawrence.

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“Chester County intends to use these test kits to test asymptomatic first responders and medical personnel. We can all agree that an asymptomatic first responder is a big problem – if a nurse or ambulance driver or EMT has COVID-19 and shows no symptoms, they could be inadvertently spreading the virus.

“If one of the test kits comes back positive on an asymptomatic first responder, then Chester County will follow up with a nasal swab to confirm, and then take the appropriate steps.”

“It is unconscionable that red tape in Harrisburg is preventing this critical testing from moving forward,” added Lawrence. “State bureaucrats should not stand in the way of testing for our first responders.”

House Bill 2455 was voted out of the House State Government Committee earlier today and will be reported to the full House for immediate consideration.

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