TAMPA, Fla. — There is now a push from the federal government to begin testing groups of people simultaneously for COVID-19.

What You Need To Know

  • Pool testing would test groups of people at once

  • All samples would be put in one tube and tested

  • If negative, everyone is cleared

  • If positive, officials would have to retest individuals in the group

It is called pool testing and it has already been discussed among members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Currently, individual testing is what is being done to detect COVID-19 in people.

But pool testing is now being pushed as an alternative. Here is how it works: a group of people will be tested together and all of their samples will be collected and put into one tube.

A negative result would clear everyone. If the result was positive, officials can go back and trace the source of the infection.

This type of testing is being strongly encouraged by the federal government because it would mean an increase in the number of people that could be tested at one time and results could presumably come back quicker.

Dr. Deborah Birx, of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, was in Tampa on Thursday and explained the benefits of this method.

“We think this is a critical breakthrough. As the FDA continues to bring new testing online, this will allow us to go from 5,000 tests a day to 50,000 tests a day,” she said.

The recommendation of pool testing has been on the White House website for several weeks, but now the federal government wants local communities to start pool testing and have promised to help local communities with that effort.

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