Tags: Coronavirus | Donald Trump | Health Topics | Trump Administration | Cold/Flu | testing | pandemic

White House: 27 Million Virus Testing Kits Will Be Ready Within Days


By    |   Sunday, 22 March 2020 10:57 AM

President Donald Trump said the expansion of testing for coronavirus in the U.S. is "going very well," following lengthy delays in the distribution of testing kits.

There will be 27 million coronavirus test kits available to patients by the end of the month, a White House official added Saturday.

Over 10 million kits have been distributed to labs nationwide in the first two weeks of March, said. US Assistant Health Secretary Brett Giroir.

“We promised 1 to 4 million, there’s 10 million tests that are in the market now,” Giroir said. Another 17 million more are coming by the end of the month.

Appearing alongside Trump at a daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence said that test results are in for about 195,000 Americans, and others have been tested at thousands of labs whose data has not yet been rolled in. More than 19,000 had been diagnosed as having the virus.

Pence reiterated the administration's call for Americans not to show up and ask to be tested unless they’re showing symptoms of COVID-19, which can include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

"If you don't have symptoms, don't do a test," Pence said. "It is another way that the American people can make sure that we are preserving the resources our health care workers need."

Trump has refused to take responsibility for the nation’s shortage of coronavirus tests, a problem that persists despite repeated promises from top U.S. officials – particularly Pence – that it would be quickly alleviated.

Trump has previously asserted an Obama-era regulation prevented the government from more quickly developing and distributing tests for coronavirus. Experts on lab-developed tests have said there was no such rule.

Meanwhile, a new COVID-19 test can deliver results in less than an hour has been approved under an FDA emergency authorization, marking the first test clinicians can use at the bedside.

Testing shortages have been an ongoing challenge in the U.S. response to curb the pandemic. The White House has promised testing will ramp up as more private companies come on board. Public health and clinical labs have run more than 195,000 tests to date, but that does not include hospital laboratories running their own test.

Cepheid, a Silicon Valley diagnostics company, announced Saturday it received an emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration to use the test, making it the 13th COVID-19 test the agency has allowed on the market as long as the public health emergency exists. But it is the first one that can be used at the point of care, meaning providers do not have to send patient samples to a separate lab to be processed and then come back to the hospital or provider’s office. Cepheid said it expects to start shipping tests next week.

"An accurate test delivered close to the patient can be transformative — and help alleviate the pressure that the emergence of the 2019-nCoV outbreak has put on healthcare facilities that need to properly allocate their respiratory isolation resources," David Persing, Cepheid chief medical and technology officer.

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President Donald Trump said the expansion of testing for coronavirus in the U.S. is "going very well," following lengthy delays in the distribution of testing kits.
testing, pandemic, mike pence, task force, daily briefing
Sunday, 22 March 2020 10:57 AM
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