California Issues RFI2 for COVID-19 Specimen Transport and Collection

Published On: September 14, 2020

California has issued a Request for Innovative Ideas (RFI2) for the collection and transport of COVID-19 specimens following its new contract with diagnostics company PerkinElmer to increase daily tests by 150,000 per day, according to the state’s COVID-19 technology website

According to the RFI2, those daily tests must have a turnaround time of 24-48 hours, which necessitates timely collection and transport for test specimens from testing sites to laboratories for analysis. 

Given the labor-intensive nature of the collection and transport process, compounded by the difficulty of connecting hard-to-reach testing sites with laboratories currently in-development, the State is fielding solutions and services from vendors for new processes that improve testing accessibility and meets the rapid turnaround requirements.

The State has placed an emphasis on finding a solution that eliminates racial and ethnic testing disparities, reaches across tribal, urban, suburban, and rural regions, complies with State and federal guidance on specimen handling, and is reasonably priced.

Additionally, the State requires that the proposed service be available seven days a week, provide linguistically and culturally diverse services, include physical collection alternatives in case of internet outages, and comply with HIPAA, among other stipulations outlined in the RFI2. 

In order to implement the solution by the early November target, the submission date for proposals is Sep. 21. The final contract will be awarded on Oct. 9.

About the Author: Will Keys

Will Keys writes about technology issues for the GovReport. He is a graduate of the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. He can be reached at will at