Community-Based Testing Sites for SARS-CoV-2 — U.S. March 2020–November 2021
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Community-Based Testing Sites for SARS-CoV-2 — U.S. March 2020–November 2021

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  • Alternative Title:
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
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    Immediately following the March 13, 2020 declaration of COVID-19 as a national emergency (1), the U.S. government began implementing national tTesting programs for epidemiologic Surveillance, monitoring of frontline workers and populations at higher risk for acquiring COVID-19, and identifying and allocating limited tTesting resources. Effective tTesting supports identification of COVID-19 cases; facilitates isolation, quarantine, and timely treatment measures that limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (the Virus that causes COVID-19); and guides public health officials about the incidence of COVID-19 in a community. A White House Joint Task Force, co-led by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), created the Community-Based Testing Sites (CBTS) program working with state and local partners (2). This report describes the timeline, services delivered, and scope of the CBTS Program During March 19, 2020-April 11, 2021, the CBTS program conducted 11,661,923 SARS-CoV-2 tests at 8,319 locations across the U.S. and its territories, including 402,223 (3.5%) administered through Drive-Through Testing, 10,129,142 (86.9%) through Pharmacies+ Testing, and 1,130,558 (9.7%) through Surge Testing programs. Tests administered through the CBTS program yielded 1,176,959 (10.1%) positive results for SARS-CoV-2. Among tested persons with available race data,* positive test results were highest among American Indian or Alaska Native (14.1%) and Black persons (10.4%) and lowest among White persons (9.9%), Asian persons (7.3%), and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders (6.4%). Among persons with reported ethnicity, 25.3% were Hispanic, 15.9% of whom received a positive test result. Overall, 82.0% of test results were returned within 2 days, but the percentage of test results returned within 2 days was as low as 40.7% in July 2020 and 59.3% in December 2020 during peak tTesting periods. Strong partnerships enabled a rapid coordinated response to establish the federally supported CBTS program to improve access to no-charge diagnostic tTesting, including for frontline workers, symptomatic persons and close contacts, and persons living in high-prevalence areas. In April 2021, the CBTS Pharmacies+ Testing and Surge Testing programs were expanded into the Increasing Community Access to Testing (ICATT) Program As of November 12, 2021, the CBTS and ICATT programs conducted approximately 26.6 million tests with approximately 10,000 active tTesting sites. Although the CBTS program represented a relatively small portion of overall U.S. SARS-CoV-2 tTesting, with its successful partnerships and adaptability, the CBTS program serves as a model to guide current community-based screening, Surveillance, and disease control programs, and responses to future public health emergencies.
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