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

Go deeper

Biden responds to Trump cognitive test challenge: "Why the hell would I?"

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Joe Biden pushed back against a challenge from President Trump to take a cognitive test during an interview that will air Thursday, reports Yahoo News.

Why it matters: The Trump campaign has been attempting to revamp its attacks against the former vice president, arguing that his mental faculties are diminished.

GOP Rep. Rodney Davis tests positive for coronavirus

Rep. Rodney Davis. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) announced on Wednesday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Davis, the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, said he has taken precautions against the virus, such as twice-daily temperature checks. He spoke to Republicans about staying safe after Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) recently tested positive for the virus and spoke out against wearing face masks, Politico notes.

Updated Aug 4, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: How hospitals have responded to the pandemic

On Tuesday, August 4 Axios health care reporter Caitlin Owens hosted a virtual event on how hospitals have been responding to the coronavirus pandemic, from getting PPE to building the future of resilient health systems, featuring Atrium Health CEO Eugene Woods, K Health co-founder & CEO Allon Bloch and Columbia University Medical Center professor and FemInEm founder Dr. Dara Kass.

Allon Bloch argued that a rise in the usage of telemedicine presents an opportunity for people to reimagine how the U.S. health care system can be more efficient and cost-effective.

  • On integrating more data analysis into medicine: "There's a massive opportunity to give people a much more nuanced approach to medicine, a much more personalized one, based on information [from] their own personal history or from similar situations...It's a little bit overlooked in medicine."
  • On how telemedicine can positively impact the health care system: "There's a lot of people that are either not insured or underinsured. They have really high deductibles. They can't afford doctors...[telemedicine] can give people access to really high quality primary care at a much lower cost."

Eugene Woods discussed his company's "virtual hospitals" and how this model has the potential to reduce overflow into physical hospitals.

  • On his company's "virtual hospital" treating COVID-19 patients: "We've treated about 13,000 patients in our virtual hospital and only three percent have had to be transferred or admitted from the virtual hospital into [a physical] hospital."
  • On reducing disparities in COVID-19 testing: "[Coronavirus] has laid bare the racial disparities that have existed in these communities for decades...Back in March, we realized there were disparities in terms of testing. So we have roving medical vans and went into those [affected] communities. We so far have hit about 55 different community host sites."

Dr. Dara Kass unpacked her experience of working in the ICUs in New York City during the initial COVID-19 outbreak, and how safety measures like masks and social distancing impacted the rate and spread of the virus.

  • How wearing masks reduces the volume of COVID-19 patients coming to the ICU: "We saw the effects of our work of social distancing and wearing masks as early as April take effect pretty dramatically...We also saw the peak come down as almost as quickly as it went up."
  • How this crisis compounds existing gender inequities: "Our child care crisis was bad before, pay inequity was bad before — it's exacerbated by this at this moment. We're worried about frontline healthcare workers now, not even being able to go back to work because of the fact that child care will be inaccessible and schools are probably not going to open."

Thank you Philips for sponsoring this event.