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Published: September 16, 2020

Request for Innovative Ideas: COVID-19 Specimen Collection & Transport

Yesterday, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH,) along with the California Department of Technology and the California Department of General Services, issued a Request for Innovative Ideas or RFIthat looks to capitalize on California’s innovation economy to help us identify new solutions or services for COVID-19 specimen collection and transport. The RFI2 is a competitive procurement approach introduced by Governor Newsom in January 2019 that seeks to engage innovators, entrepreneurs, scientists, vendors, and experts to collaborate on designing leading-edge solutions.

The goal is to create a solution or service that is both culturally and linguistically competent and meets the client or patient where they are so that testing becomes more accessible and equitable for both individuals who are disproportionately impacted by the virus as well as those who are at greater risk for the virus.  Additionally, CDPH wants to ensure that experience is seamless, timely, cost-effective, and convenient.

The State plans to build a hub and spoke model, with the PerkinElmer Laboratory as the hub and various community-based specimen collection sites as the spokes. It is especially critical that CDPH build specimen collection capabilities in hard-to-reach areas of California—at essential workplaces and in communities of color—as these communities are disproportionately impacted by the virus and there is a greater need to ensure equitable access to testing.

The CDPH asks that you share the RFI2 with others who might be interested. If you are not able to fulfill all the requirements CDPH asks that you look to develop innovative partnerships. No one organization will be able to do this alone, it will require CDPH to build partnerships and collaborations across and among sectors. This may include, but not be limited to, schools, community clinics, churches, and community-based organizations

CDPH has scheduled two virtual conferences (September 17 from 9am – 11am and September 18 from 1pm – 3pm) to allow you to ask questions of the CDPH and their partners. For details on how to join the virtual conferences, please visit here.

If you have questions regarding the procurement, please feel free to submit your questions to RFI2SpecimenCollection@dgs.ca.gov.

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