The tests are being purchased in cooperation with the Rockefeller Foundation and a coalition of 10 states.

Maryland is taking a new step towards improving rapid testing for coronavirus across the state. Governor Larry Hogan has announced that Maryland will purchase 250,000 rapid antigen tests to be used to buoy testing in the state's nursing homes, assisted living centers, and correctional facilities. The rapid point-of-care antigen tests are manufactured by BD and can provide a result in around 15 minutes. The tests are being purchased in cooperation with a bipartisan interstate testing compact started by Hogan and nine other governors in association with the Rockefeller Foundation.

The rapid tests will make it easier for nursing homes and correctional facilities to control virus outbreaks by providing fast and easy testing for employees and residents. Hogan was joined by Dr. Rajiv Shah, President of the Rockefeller Foundation for a press conference at the BD facility in Baltimore County. The Rockefeller Foundation is helping the states in the compact facilitate the purchase and delivery of five million tests from BD—500,000 for each state.

“No one should have to choose between doing their job and doing their part to end this pandemic,” said Dr. Rajiv Shah, president of the Rockefeller Foundation. “Beating back this pandemic requires a massive scale up of rapid screening testing to 200 million a month. Right now as a country heading into flu season, we aren’t even at 30 million a month. That’s why the leadership and commitment shown by Governor Hogan—and all 10 governors in the compact—is critical to giving workers, teachers, students, and vulnerable people the confidence they need to be safe until a vaccine is proven effective and widely available.”

nursing home hallway

Photo by Erkan Utu from Pexels

Maryland is the first state in the compact to to purchase antigen tests from BD. The BD Veritor System uses nasal swabs to collect a sample that is processed in a small handheld device. The device is one of two rapid test systems authorized for emergency use by the FDA. The bipartisan interstate testing compact keeps states from competing against one another, allowing them to purchase tests for a lower price. States currently in the compact include Maryland, Arkansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Ohio, Utah, Virginia, and Michigan.