State leaders say lack of COVID-19 testing supplies biggest concern going forward

As Gov. Tim Walz said Minnesotans should expect "not a blizzard but a winter" in the midst of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) threat, one of the biggest concerns mentioned going forward is the lack of testing supplies.

Walz said he’s made three requests in ten days, including a personal call to Vice President Mike Pence, for more COVID-19 tests and other items.

"I know that the stress that has been put on Minnesotans, that has been put on families, that has been put on business owners, is unprecedented," Walz said.

Expect ‘a winter, not a blizzard,’ says Gov. Walz about COVID-19 preparations

Walz added he has been critical of the testing set-up. In Minnesota, Walz said there are 1,700 frozen samples waiting to be tested.

Despite his multiple requests, Walz said he’s had no luck in getting more supplies for testing.

Thursday afternoon, he will once again be on a phone conference with the Pence and other governors across the country who have expressed the same concerns.

In the meantime, here’s what health officials are recommending: From the moment a person starts experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, doctors say that person must self-quarantine for a minimum of seven days.

Doctors say that person should also add another three days once the fever ends.

As for the lack of testing, officials with the Minnesota Department of Health say they are doing what they can with limited supplies.

"Our priorities for testing are hospitalized patients, health care workers, and individuals in congregate settings such as long-term care," Walz said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials recommend those who have had contact with an infected person to participate in a 14-day self-quarantine.

At this point, Walz is not calling for a mandatory shelter-in-place order, but that could change down the road.

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