Jul 1, 2020 - Health

HHS to facilitate "blitz" of coronavirus testing ahead of July 4

drive-up COVID-19 testing outside

Drive-up COVID-19 testing. Photo: Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Health and Human Services official Adm. Brett Giroir urged Americans to wear masks and practice social distancing heading into July 4 weekend as the agency coordinates a "blitz" of coronavirus testing for states and local areas experiencing outbreaks.

The big picture: Targeted testing for people 35 and under regardless if they are sick can help supplement data collected through contact tracing — a challenge public health agencies have had when outbreaks are not tied to one specific event, Giroir said on a press call Wednesday.

What's happening: HHS is looking to partner with several states including Texas, Florida and Louisiana to test in mid-size communities to identify cases in younger populations that may be unknowingly spreading COVID-19.

Yes, but: HHS's nationwide goal to conduct 13.7 million tests in July can only go so far when individuals do not practice social distancing or wear face coverings. "We cannot test our way out of this," Giroir said.

  • "If we don’t have the personal discipline and do the kinds of things that are known public health measures, we cannot test our way out of this. But it’s a combination of testing while we really reinforce the personal responsibility and behaviors that we’re depending on the under 35 crowd to really implement," he said.

Of note: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) said Monday that attendees at a July 3 event at Mount Rushmore where President Trump is set to speak will not be required to practice social distancing.

Go deeper: Minorities have less access to coronavirus testing

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