Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Brett Giroir of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps told "The Story" Monday that the Trump administration is able to "fully supply" states with the tools needed to test for the coronavirus in adequate numbers to start repening their economies.
"We believe every state should at least have the capacity -- that means the swabs, the media, the testing, the drive-thru sites -- to test at least two percent of their individuals per month," Giroir told host Martha MacCallum. "What I'm happy to say as we move into the next stage is, we are able to fully supply their supply chains in order to allow them to do that."
Giroir told "The Story" that Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee -- who preceded him on the program -- has done a "great job" in ramping up the Volunteer State's testing capabilities.
"[Tennessee is at] two and a half percent cumulatively," Giroir said. "We are talking about two percent per month, and we are going to enable states to do that."
Lee announced earlier Monday that restaurants in 89 of the state's 95 counties had reopend at 50 percent capacity, with retailers expected to open Wednesday under the same rules.
Giroir said that the two percent per month standard is a very sound guidepost on the path to reopening states, but admitted that the ultimate decision on reopening rests with the states.
"Every state really has their own individual circumstance depending on how many cases they have," he said.
Giroir told MacCallum that the next priority for the administraton is to test asymptomatic carriers of the virus in high-risk settings like nursing homes, the first step toward a system of contract tracing.
"We want to make sure not only that people are tested, but that they're traced," he said, adding that "one thing we will do is we will put CDC personnel -- experts -- in every state. They will function as subject matter experts to help the states build a contract tracing routine that they need in order to identify any emerging outbreak. That is a really important part of the strategy."