White House sends 250K virus tests to 41 HBCUs, official says

A White House official announced 250K tests for the novel coronavirus were sent to over 40 historically Black colleges and universities.

Loading the player...

A White House official shared the news that 250,000 tests for COVID-19 were sent to historically Black colleges and universities to aid through the pandemic.

Read More: 2 HBCU presidents join COVID-19 vaccine trial, want students to follow

According to McClatchy DC, the virus tests were dispatched to combat potential coronavirus outbreaks in high-risk communities. The outlet reports the Trump administration said shipping on the rapid coronavirus test has already begun with 41 institutions as recipients. What is being called the first shipment reportedly went to Howard University and 40 public colleges under the HBCU umbrella.

Some of the schools included were North Carolina A&T, Winston-Salem State University, Elizabeth City State University, and Fayetteville State University, all in North Carolina, Florida A&M University, Kentucky State University, and Fort Valley State University in Georgia.

“We know they’ve been underserved historically, and we just want to support them,” Adm. Brett Giroir, the White House coronavirus task force testing czar told McClatchy.

“We think it’s very, very important to equip HBCUs,” Giroir added. “It is a fact, except for a few very high-tech globally competitive universities that many of these are small, rural, and do not have the kind of laboratory capacity that other universities do have.”

After the first 250K tests, a second shipment is planned for the campuses not in the initial group. According to McClatchy, another 300K rapid tests are anticipated for delivery by next week to approximately 65 more HBCUs. The amount sent is expected to last weeks however Giroir insists the tests would be replenished as necessary.

Maryland’s HBCUs are receiving aid.

“And if you start getting positives, you know you have that spark before you have a wildfire,” Giroir told McClatchy. “This first shipment should last them quite a period of time unless there’s a very unusual circumstance within that campus.”

In the case of a surge, Giroir says the federal government would provide extra supplies. The number of tests each school received ranged between 3K -10K, depending on size. According to the report, officials pledged to send all 107 of the schools that are identified by the Department of Education as HBCUs the rapid tests.

“If we don’t support them they could be tinderboxes for infections, hospitalizations, and bad outcomes, and there is just no reason for that to happen,” Giroir said to McClatchy

During a press conference Trump coronavirus task force member Dr. Scott Atlas mentioned the initiative publicly, McClatchy reports.

“The historically Black colleges and universities, we are doing, at my suggestion — because they have had a difficult problem there — we are doing more testing there and finer testing. We have our — our great apparatus there,” Trump said.

Read More: Peyton Manning sponsors 6 HBCU scholarships

The rapid tests were ordered by the Department of Health and Human Services from Abbott in August as part of a contract for 150M tests by the end of the year. Results are readily available in 15 minutes. The administration initially sent tests to nursing homes in areas with high COVID-19 numbers, assisted living facilities, the Indian Health Service, and disaster areas. According to McClatchy, Giroir says the tests could go to K-12 schools in the next month, however, the administration is prioritizing disaster-struck areas first.

Loading the player...