UW Health says coronavirus test kits are low nationwide

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)-- A coronavirus expert at UW Health says labs across the nation are running out of testing kits.

Source: WMTV

As part of the response to the testing shortage, Wisconsin officials have created a priority list. Health care workers and people with high risk to the virus are tested first, while everyone else has to wait.

“There are more people that we would like to test than there are tests available,” Dr. Jeff Pothof, chief quality officer at UW Health, said. “That makes things tricky. It makes us have to prioritize who gets tests, so we try to figure out who would benefit most from a test.”

He explained that the kits—as well as the other components for conducting tests—are low across private and public suppliers.

UW Health currently sends test samples to the State Laboratory of Hygiene. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services said today that the state lab conducts 400 tests per day. The limited supply of tests makes it harder for state and county officials to accurately portray the number of cases.

Pothof says that even without getting tested, low-risk individuals showing symptoms of coronavirus will have “no worse medical outcomes,” as long as they are in isolation.

“One of our highest priorities here at UW health is to have our labs start testing,” Pothof said, adding that other health systems and private labs are on a “race” to expand testing.