3/14/2020 12:37:16 PM
[ST. PAUL, MN] – Yesterday, Governor Tim Walz /governor/assets/03.13.20%20Letter%20to%20Vice%20President%20Pence_tcm1055-423065.pdfsent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence asking the federal government to increase Minnesota’s access to COVID-19 testing kits, and all the reagents and supplies needed to conduct those tests, to a minimum of 15,000 tests per month. This letter was a follow-up to the Governor’s request on a March 12 phone call with the Vice President.
“The ability to test and diagnose cases of COVID-19 is critical to Minnesota’s response and mitigation of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” reads the letter from Governor Walz.
“We have been forced to ration the number of tests performed at our public health lab,” continues the letter. “I call upon you to help ensure we appropriately prevent and mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The letter from the Governor is available in full here and below:
March 13, 2020
Vice President Mike Pence
The White House
Office of the Vice President
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. Vice President:
On behalf of the State of Minnesota, I am following up on the request that I made on our March 12, 2020 phone call. As you know, the ability to test and diagnoses cases of COVID-19 is critical to Minnesota’s response and mitigation of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minnesota, like other states, is deeply concerned about the availability of the testing kits, in addition to ancillary reagents and lab supplies needed to provide testing. There are a variety of components of a COVID-19 test. Kits alone are not enough; we need all necessary components to successfully test.
I am calling upon you and your office to aid us in ensuring there is access to testing kits, and all the reagents and supplies needed to conduct, at a minimum, 15,000 tests per month.
In addition, I urge you to work with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve “research use only” chemicals to help address the supply chain shortages of reagents; and to fast track a rapid point of care test for COVID-19. We need to move the testing for coronavirus out of our laboratories and into our clinics.
Minnesota needs a more reliable supply chain to test and diagnose patients with COVID-19. Supply chain issues related to testing components not only impact the number of tests we have, but make it difficult to predict when we will run out of testing components and need to cease testing. We have been forced to ration the number of tests performed at our public health lab. I call upon you to help ensure we appropriately prevent and mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
cc: Donald Trump, President of the United States of America