March 10, 2020

Watson Coleman Urges Clarity from CDC on Coronavirus Testing

Washington, D.C. (March 10, 2020) — Following an exchange between Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies on Tuesday morning, Watson Coleman wrote to Redfield to request a clear plan for what states like New Jersey should expect from the CDC for COVID-19 testing.

“I join my constituents and residents across New Jersey in expressing frustration with the delayed confirmation of New Jersey’s 11 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19, from the [CDC],” Watson Coleman wrote. “This morning, when I asked you about these pending confirmations, you conceded that ‘we’re moving in [a] direction’ where the public should no longer expect CDC to verify test results from state labs. As this will be a departure from current policy, can you clarify at what point you expect this shift to take place? Further, what is your plan to communicate this change in policy to states and their labs?”

The CDC has long ensured disease testing accuracy by confirming samples from state labs — any plans to cease testing samples sent from states like New Jersey requires the CDC to be notify labs and State entities immediately. New Jersey state officials had originally been told by the CDC that testing and confirmation of their 11 presumptive cases would be sent by March 7.

To view the exchange between Redfield and Watson Coleman, click here.

To view the full letter sent to Redfield today, click here.