Virginia remains behind other states in testing

Posted at 10:40 AM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 06:55:58-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Testing numbers for COVID-19 are trending downwards over the last two days, according to data from the Virginia Department of Health.

About 2,500 test results were reported on Tuesday and Wednesday. That's lower than last week when about 4,000 tests were administered per day.

Gov. Northam and his health team said Wednesday they will release more details about their plan for testing on Friday. They say more people will be tested, which will boost the numbers. "We are able to ramp up our testing of moderate and low risk patients," Northam said.

Analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation ranks Virginia 49th in the country in the number of tests administered per capita.

On Monday, Gov. Northam attributed Virginia's lag in testing to initial delays in getting supplies from the federal government. "All of the states have been in the same boat if you will. We've all been doing this on our own from day one," he said.

More gear is on the way, he said Wednesday. "FEMA will be sending 200,000 additional swabs which will help significantly," he said.

He said the state's goal is to test 10,000 people per day and potentially even more. Expanded testing is considered the key to reopening the economy.

Republican lawmakers have questioned Northam's response. "Something is fundamentally different -- and possibly wrong -- with the way Virginia’s testing is being handled. Virginians deserve answers, and they deserve them now," said House of Delegates Republican Leader Todd Gilbert.

Part of the plan includes creating a database of all the private laboratories who are doing testing.

In addition, Northam says he is following trends, not specific daily numbers, when making decisions on when Virginia can reopen the economy. "Our numbers haven't flattened out yet," he said.

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