MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s COVID-19 testing shortage is so bad that 1,700 samples are now frozen, waiting for results.
Gov. Tim Walz calls it concerning, and is asking for federal help.
At a news conference Wednesday, Walz stressed testing remains a weak point in the fight against the pandemic, both across the country and here in Minnesota.
“South Korea’s done 274,000 tests. Italy’s done 134,000 tests. [The United States has] done 25,000. We have done less than Greece, a country of 11 million,” Walz said.
He says he has personally called Vice President Mike Pence about the state’s shortage.
“We’ve had to freeze 1,700 samples. We can’t test them,” Walz said. “Those are people that needed to be tested. The assumption is that [they] need testing for a reason because the criteria is pretty high … we don’t have them yet,” Walz said.
The state handled 2,100 unemployment claims last week. In the first part of this week, they have handled 50,000.
While the governor at times expressed frustration over the federal government’s response, he did praise Minnesota’s overall response, saying it is up to each and every person to follow recommendations to stay home and maintain social distancing.