Arkansas congressional delegation requests White House action to ensure testing reagent supply

Coronavirus

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Arkansas’ congressional delegation sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence on Monday, requesting the White House Coronavirus Task Force take action to ensure the state has adequate testing reagent supply.

The letter, made public by Representative French Hill on Twitter, notes that the delegation was recently advised that a reference lab used by many Arkansas hospitals has canceled its testing contracts due to a lack of sufficient testing reagents.

At the same time, Arkansas hospitals have had their internal testing capacity limited to 10 percent of their machines’ and staff’s ability to process tests due to the lack of reagents.

“With the cancellation of the aforementioned testing contracts, Arkansas has reached a critical point,” says the letter signed by Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton and Reps. Hill, Rick Crawford, Steve Womack, and Bruce Westerman.

“The state is now having to make the difficult decision of whether to adhere to its requirement for COVID-19 tests 48 hours before elective procedures or eliminate this testing requirement. Adhering to the 48-hours rule likely will lead to the cancellation of most elective procedures, while eliminating it will mean that medical professionals must assume that the patient has COVID-19 causing the medical professionals to utilize PPE at a rate faster than necessary. Either option puts Arkansans at risk.”

Congressman Bruce Westerman said until this is resolved, Arkansans have to follow the guidelines put in place to help slow the spread.

I think everybody wants to see school start, wants to see football season start, they want to see all those things we love in Arkansas take place, but everyone has to take their part to make that happen.

REP. BRUCE WESTERMAN, (R) ARKANSAS

The delegation requests that the White House Task Force “take the necessary action to ensure adequate reagent supply availability, particularly as the COVID-19 infection rate is beginning to rise in states like Arkansas and more testing is necessary.”

Westerman said he thinks the White House Coronavirus Task Force will take note of this request but realizes Arkansas isn’t the only state struggling with this.

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