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Connecticut reaches deal to increase coronavirus testing by 80 percent

Connecticut reaches deal to increase coronavirus testing by 80 percent
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Connecticut will be able to increase its coronavirus testing capacity by 80 percent under a new deal with Quest Diagnostics. 

The partnership announced Tuesday by Gov. Ned Lamont (D), the hospital system Hartford HealthCare and the testing company Quest Diagnostics will add an additional 2,000 tests per day in the state, officials said, on top of the 2,600 per day currently being performed. 

Jeffrey Flaks, CEO of Hartford HealthCare, said at a news conference that his health system has partnered with Quest on testing since 2014, and approached Quest CEO Steve Rusckowski, who was born and raised in Connecticut, about increasing testing capacity. 

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“Having Steve Rusckowski as the chairman, president and CEO of Quest is important when we know he certainly serves and has great admiration for all 50 states, but we're still his only home state,” Flaks said. 

Lamont said the increased capacity will allow the state to try to improve testing in underserved communities. 

“The health disparities when it comes to COVID-19 are real, and this expansion of testing, particularly in our urban communities, is a way for the state and its hospitals to go into these neighborhoods proactively and make sure our residents have access to the testing they need to help get through this crisis,” Lamont said in a statement. 

Connecticut’s move comes as states across the country are pushing to find ways to increase their testing capacity, given that experts say significantly more tests are needed to reopen the economy safely and President TrumpDonald TrumpFacebook temporarily bans ads for weapons accessories following Capitol riots Sasse, in fiery op-ed, says QAnon is destroying GOP Section 230 worked after the insurrection, but not before: How to regulate social media MORE has said states, not the federal government, should have the main responsibility for increasing testing. 

Maryland, for example, earlier this week announced it had obtained 500,000 tests from South Korea.