Demand for COVID testing surpassing supply of test kits

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The urge for holiday travel and the nationwide surge in COVID cases have combined to increase the demand for COVID testing.

NewsChannel 34’s Morgan Wright reports some lawmakers and experts have concerns that labs may not be able to handle the demand for tests.

COVID testing sites around the country have been overwhelmed ahead of Thanksgiving and Maryland Senator Ben Cardin says he’s concerned.

{Senator Ben Cardin, D/MD} “We need a greater capacity for testing and that request was never heeded.”

Cardin says the House passed HEROES Act would have helped handle the onslaught by providing millions more dollars for testing, but the bill remains stalled in the Senate.

{Senator Ben Cardin, D/MD} “We’d like to be able to have testing on demand but we just don’t have the capacity right now because we weren’t as prepared as we should’ve been.

In a statement Quest Diagnostics, a clinical laboratory company said quote: “the laboratory industry as a whole is experiencing increasing constraints on supplies, including test kits…” and demand for tests has increased nearly fifty percent since the last week of September.

{Senator Ben Cardin, D/MD} “So now there are going to be long lines we’re urging people that don’t need to be tested, don’t.

{Dr. Gary Procop, Medical Director of Clinical Virology, The Cleveland Clinic} “From the very beginning we have called for a national testing strategy.”

Dr. Gary Procop with the Cleveland Clinic says the current testing strategy on a state by state basis isn’t working.

{Dr. Gary Procop, Medical Director of Clinical Virology, The Cleveland Clinic} “They’re all doing 50 different things. Get the experts together. There are best practices so let’s get the experts to tell us what the best practices are with regard to testing and then follow those.

Senator Cardin says while there is a light at the end of the COVID tunnel, with a vaccine on the way.

Congress still needs to get busy on COVID relief when lawmakers return to Washington next week.

Reporting in Washington, I’m Morgan Wright.

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