McSally seeks CDC’s continued swift efforts to fight coronavirus

U.S. Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) joined 38 members of Congress in making a bipartisan, bicameral call for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to expedite distribution of its rapid diagnostic test for novel coronavirus to state and local officials around the country.

“We further urge you to prioritize localities where cases have already been confirmed, so that additional cases may be detected in real-time,” wrote Sen. McSally and her colleagues in a Feb. 3 letter sent to Robert Redfield, director of the CDC.

“These communities have an identified risk factor for further spread of the virus, and therefore health officials need all the tools at their disposal to rapidly detect and respond to new cases,” wrote Sen. McSally, who was joined in signing the letter by members including U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA).

According to her office, Sen. McSally learned last week that the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Maricopa County (Ariz.) Department of Public Health jointly reported that a Maricopa County patient was infected with the coronavirus, making Arizona one of five states with a confirmed case.

“It is a notable scientific achievement that CDC was able to develop a rapid diagnostic test for this novel virus just one week after publication of the viral genome sequence,” according to the members’ letter. “This test has enabled health officials across the country to distinguish positive cases of this novel virus from other respiratory illnesses, allowing them to isolate patients to prevent further spread of the virus and deploy their resources where they are needed most.”

Sen. McSally and the lawmakers added that they are eager to learn how priority will be determined for swift distribution of the diagnostic test.