Federal government to start surge testing program after 32 states show rise in COVID-19 cases

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WASHINGTON D.C. (WCMH) — 32 states are reporting a rise in coronavirus cases and this week the federal government will start surge testing programs in at least three states showing the most danger.

Federal officials hope casting a wide net will catch a lot of unknown COVID-19 cases.

“Can we go in and test perhaps a month’s worth of testing in only a few days, identify a lot of these asymptomatic individuals, and get them appropriately isolated?” asked Admiral Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Admiral Giroir said the testing surge will target Florida, Texas and Louisiana.

“We’re going to do this surge testing over five to ten days in a locality, test a lot of people,” he said.

HHS declined to say what cities in those three states will get surge testing but plans to release more information Tuesday.

“Just think of brush fires,” he said. “You want to extinguish those brush fires before they become big forest fires.”

Both Texas and Florida reported record numbers of new infections this week. Now, health officials say its mostly people under 35 who catch and spread the disease.

“What I see on the news, and what I hear is that a lot of young people aren’t taking this seriously,” Giroir said.

There’s also added concern after the 4th of July weekend. Giroir says anybody who was in a crowd should get tested this week and then isolate themselves.

“Until you’re absolutely sure you’re not developing symptoms and you have a negative test,” he said.

He also said the need for so much more testing wouldn’t be as great if people wear masks, wash their hands and stay at least six feet apart.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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