COVID-19 testing is essential to a targeted public health approach for informing clinical care and reducing spread
of the virus until a vaccine is available. Current testing capacity is notably insufficient to meet these demands, and
limited supply istypically prioritized for people with symptoms, health care workers, first responders and vulnerable
populations. Experts anticipate additional diagnostic testing options to be widely available in the next several
months, supplementing increasing laboratory testing capacity. But lack of widespread access to accurate testing is
the greatest limiting factor in relaxing social distancing restrictions.
This memo provides current information regarding COVID-19 testing and test capacity and strategies governors
may consider as they work to increase that capacity in their states for both short-term and long-term needs.
Note: This document is an update to NGA’s March 26 memo on testing, which provided comprehensive historical information.
All NGA coronavirus memos can be found here, or visit Coronavirus: What You Need To Know for current information on the status of COVID-19 In The United States, a list of actions states/territories have taken to address both the public health and economic impacts, and policy resources.