In early March 2020, Amy Mathers, a physician and faculty member at the University of Virginia Health System (UVA Health), contemplated how UVA Health could get access to COVID-19 testing—and fast. The first patients with COVID-19 symptoms had arrived at the UVA hospital that week, but hospital staff had no ability to confirm the cases. Waiting seven days for a commercial result meant wasting precious isolation rooms and gear if the patient was in fact negative for the novel coronavirus. Should the leadership at UVA Health wait and hope to access the backlogged tests from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or immediately start sourcing and developing their own? How would they get approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)? Could they access the reagents and equipment they needed to make a reliable test? Many obstacles lay ahead.
The A case details the decision, and this B case introduces new decisions about access to testing. Both have been taught online successfully at Darden.