PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 27, 2020 —
The Defense Logistics Agency purchased over 3 million rapid “point-of-care” antigen tests Aug. 21 to support the Department of Health and Human Services’ COVID-19 relief efforts at nationwide nursing homes.
DLA Troop Support’s medical supply chain awarded two contracts within a week of receiving HHS’ request. The tests are being provided through the Defense Production Act, which uses presidential authority to expedite and expand the supply of materials and services from the U.S. industrial base.
Test kits will be shipped in September to over 14,000 nursing homes as part of the second wave of HHS’ nursing home initiative. The first wave included personal protection equipment like gloves, masks and medical gowns also acquired by DLA Troop Support.
The tests can diagnose SARS-CoV-2 infections in about 15 minutes and are a key part of decreasing COVID-19 outbreaks at U.S. nursing homes, said Navy Adm. Brett Grioir, HHS assistant secretary for health.
“The federal efforts to supply nursing homes with rapid point-of-care antigen instruments and tests is our highest priority to save lives, and the U.S. government will exert its authority to fulfill this mission,” he said, adding that HHS will continue working to get lifesaving supplies where they’re needed.
Eileen Motta, DLA Troop Support’s medical integrated supply team chief, said DLA’s enduring partnership with HHS made it easier to accelerate the order.
“They [HHS] were very responsive to any questions we had and very helpful throughout the process. Knowing our hard work will support a large number of nursing homes makes all the extra hours seem minor in comparison,” she said.
Hard work and collaboration by employees like Charles Reimer, Christina Izzi, Mario Buonanoce and others also contributed to the mission’s success, she added.