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Delaware collaborating with Rhode Island, New Jersey on testing guidance


The State of Delaware announced it is collaborating with Rhode Island and New Jersey on regional COVID testing guidance.



The collaboration builds on months of experience working together to focus efforts on expanding and improving COVID-19 testing in the Northeast.


Dr. Richard Pescatore is the chief physician with the Delaware Division of Public Health. He says Delaware is working with many other states, but these two stuck out.


“These other states, New Jersey and Rhode Island, were particularly in line with a number of our own values and a number of our own prioritizations and particularly involved with conversations driving the overall recommendations that were made as part of this collaborative foundation.”


Pescatore says he’s a fan of this regional approach because some parts of the country need to go about testing and contact tracing differently than other areas.


He says the states have been working together throughout the pandemic to improve each other’s testing strategies.


“Well, we have this kinda ongoing dialogue and it’s always helpful to remark upon the particular situation were facing and learn lessons from colleagues in other states who may have already faced those challenges or issues.”


He adds in absence of federal guidance for COVID-19 testing, it falls on individual states to fill the void.


By working together, Pescatore says the group can help all the Northeastern states improve testing and adapt to the specific needs of the region.


This collaboration is part of a broader effort with the Millbank Foundation, a public health organization.


Pescatore says the group meets weekly to discuss problems with testing, exchange ideas, and help formulate plans and guidance to improve testing.


He says Delaware has prioritized expanding access to testing so anyone can get one on demand at minimal or no cost.


But, he notes with winter quickly approaching, states in the region need to work together to figure out how to pivot from outdoor, pop-up testing sites to indoor partners.


Winter also means testing will be more important to distinguish COVID-19 from the common cold or the flu.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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