Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

DOD continues to increase COVID-19 test capacity

Technician wearing gloves putting a sample into a container A 96th Medical Group laboratory technician at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, handles a patient sample to test for COVID-19. The Military Health System has 158 operational labs with the overall capacity to conduct nearly 300,000 tests per week, according to Dr. Lee Payne, the lead of the Coronavirus Task Force diagnostics and testing effort. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ilka Cole)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

The Department of Defense has increased its overall capacity to conduct tests for COVID-19 by nearly 50% since July, according to the lead for the Coronavirus Task Force diagnostics and testing effort.

Air Force Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Lee Payne told a Pentagon press conference Nov. 24 that there are 158 operational laboratories with the overall capacity to conduct nearly 300,000 tests per week within the Military Health System. That compares to July numbers of 125 global labs certified for COVID-19 testing with the ability to perform more than 200,000 tests per week. In March as the first wave of the pandemic spread, there were only 15 testing sites able to perform 1,000 tests per week.

DOD is “regularly able to complete over 99% of their prior tests each week,” Payne said, despite supply shortages that are occurring in all the United States. DOD “has taken key steps to identify critical points in this supply chain and appropriate actions to mitigate these shortages throughout each phase of the pandemic,” he said.

“We will continue to lead from the front, identifying and investing in new technologies that will allow the department to accomplish our missions and protect our force and families,” Payne said.

Innovations allowing this high rate of completed tests include moving from the gold standard molecular COVID-19 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests to new technology such as point-of-care molecular tests, oral swab, and quick blood antigen tests.

Army Col. Mikal Stoner, the acting DHA Lab Division chief, said in a statement: "Using our large DOD labs with higher throughput allowed more testing to occur with less staffing resources, in addition to adding more testing locations and platforms throughout DOD."

In addition, she noted, an MHS Lab Survey was created early on that allowed a view of supplies and testing numbers across all of MHS, including operational units.

Moving toward the future, “we are looking into surveillance pooling models, which use fewer resources and better support commands and their surveillance mission," Stoner said.

These increased capabilities have been happening while DOD has been leveraging Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration guidance to develop protocols “that help frontline clinicians determine the right test for the right situation, depending on a patient’s unique circumstances,” Payne told the media briefing.

“We look forward to continuing to expand our partnerships, capitalize on and implement new emerging research, technologies and capabilities that will allow us to grow our testing ability and further reduce the spread of COVID-19, ensuring mission readiness and keeping our service members and their families safe.”

As of Dec. 2, there were more than 16.2 million COVID-19 cases and nearly 270,000 deaths across the United States, according to the CDC. As of the same date, the DOD reported 120,398 cases and 130 deaths.

You also may be interested in...

DHA-PI 6205.01: Medical Logistics Guidance for the DoD Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Procedural Instruction (DHA-PI), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (n), establishes the Defense Health Agency's (DHA's) procedures for ordering, receiving, and managing COVID-19 Vaccines inventory and ancillary kits.

DHA-IPM 20-004: Department of Defense (DoD) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Implementation

Policy

This Defense Health Agency (DHA) Interim Procedures Memorandum (IPM), based on the authority of References (a) through (d), and in accordance with the guidance cited in References (e) through (aa), establishes the DHA’s procedures to implement instructions, assign responsibilities, and prescribe procedures for the COVID-19 Vaccination Program. This DHA-IPM applies to DHA, DHA Components (activities under the authority direction, and control of the DHA), Military Departments (MILDEP), and the United States Coast Guard (CG). This DHA-IPM cancels and replaces DHA-IPM 20-004, “Department of Defense (DoD) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Implementation,” December 13, 2020.

DHA COVID19 Medical Coding PolicyV5 1v

Policy

Establishes the DHA procedures to standardize the coding for Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) within military medical treatment facilities (MTFs). This memorandum replaces DHA-Policy Memorandum 20-003 of July 1, 2020. Attachment 1 was updated to include the 2021 procedure and diagnosis codes for COVID-19, including the new vaccination and treatment codes.

  • Identification #: 20-003
  • Date: 3/25/2021
  • Type: Memorandums
  • Topics: Coronavirus

TAB A MEO COVID19 Medical Coding Policy

Policy

Memorandum for DHA Staff - Military Medical Treatment Facilities to Implement Updated DHA COVID-19 Medical Coding Policy

  • Identification #: N/A
  • Date: 3/25/2021
  • Type: Memorandums
  • Topics: Coronavirus

Supplemental Guidance for Providing DoD Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccines to DoD Contractor Employees and Select Foreign Nationals

Policy

This memorandum provides supplemental guidance on the provision of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines, in accordance with reference (a). The Defense Health Agency (DHA) is the lead coordinating DoD Component for executing this guidance, in coordination with the Military Departments and other DoD Components as appropriate.

HA Guidance for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Laboratory Pre-Testing Questionnaire

Policy

This memorandum provides guidance for a COVID-19 laboratory pre-testing questionnaire that will be mandatory for all Active Duty Service members and encouraged for all other DoD beneficiaries treated at military medical treatment facilities.

Executive Order on Ensuring Access to United States Government COVID-19 Vaccines

Policy

This EO outlines who should receive priority access to COVID-19 vaccines developed in the United States or procured by the United States Government (“United States Government COVID-19 Vaccines”).

Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccine Guidance

Policy

This memorandum provides guidance on the provision of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines. The Defense Health Agency (DHA) is the lead coordinating DoD Component for executing this guidance, in coordination with the Military Departments and other DoD Components.

DHA-AI 3020-01: Return to the Workplace Staffing Plan in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Environment

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Administrative Instruction (DHA-AI), based on the authority of References (a) through (b) and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (z3), establishes the Defense Health Agency's (DHA) plan to return to full operations and support the whole-of-government response, during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This DHA-AI also provides a preventive plan to monitor and assess for the appearance of new cases and implement those processes that will prevent them from impacting the workforce. The processes describe herein are intended to offer an actionable plan for the workforce to re-enter DHA Administrative Offices. See Appendix 1 for a summary of the DHA Administrative Office Reopening Plan. The plan uses the Force Health Protection Guidance and Health Protection Conditions (HPCON), in accordance with Reference (d), to ensure protection for the workforce, including the most vulnerable-to-serious complications from the virus while enabling DHA Administrative Offices to continue its mission. See Appendix 2 for the conceptual HPCON framework.

  • Identification #: 3020-01
  • Date: 11/3/2020
  • Type: Administrative Instructions
  • Topics: Coronavirus

DHA AI 3020.01: Return to the Workplace Staffing Plan in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Environment

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Administrative Instruction (DHA-AI), establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) plan to return to full operations and support the whole-of-government response, during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and in preparation for regression or resurgence in COVID-19 cases that could impact the workforce.

  • Identification #: DHA AI 3020.01
  • Date: 6/12/2020
  • Type: Administrative Instructions
  • Topics: Coronavirus
Showing results 1 - 10 Page 1 of 1

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.