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Gates Foundation to Fund Home SARS-CoV-2 Testing

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is to fund home testing kits for SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, to the Seattle area, the Seattle Times reports.

As of Sunday, Public Health – Seattle & King County reported 83 COVID-19 cases and 17 deaths. Other cases have also been reported in surrounding areas, including Snohomish County.

Testing for the virus has been limited, and the Gates Foundation aims to ramp it up — it has committed $5 million to respond to the outbreak in the Seattle area and $100 million globally. According to the Seattle Times, people who are concerned they may have contracted the virus can fill out a questionnaire online and if their symptoms are similar to those caused by the virus, they can request a test kit to be delivered to their homes within two hours. Swabs would then be returned for analysis, and results would be available in one to two days. If positive, results would be shared with local public health officials, it notes.

"One of the most important things from our perspective, having watched and worked on this in other parts of the world, is the identification of people who are positive for the virus, so they can be safely isolated and cared for, and the identification of their contacts, who can then be quarantined," Scott Dowell, the leader of coronavirus response at the Gates Foundation, tells the Seattle Times.

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