United States Vice President Mike Pence has stated the lack of sufficient novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) test kits to meet the increasing demand.
During a visit to a surgical mask manufacturing plant on the outskirts of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Pence vowed to address the shortage. “We don’t have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate the demand going forward,” he said.
Leading the White House coronavirus taskforce, Pence said that test kits were available for those believed to have been in contact with people infected with the virus. “For those who we believe have been exposed, for those who are showing symptoms, we’ve been able to provide the testing,” he said. “But as more Americans take an interest in this or have concerns about this, we want to make sure they have access to a coronavirus test as well, and we’ve made real progress on that in the last several days.”
A total of 233 coronavirus cases have been recorded in the US, with new cases in Seattle, San Francisco and New York City.
Twenty new coronavirus cases have been reported in Seattle on March 5, bringing the total to 70 confirmed cases in Washington State.
The state has the highest number of deaths caused by novel coronavirus in the country, with 11 deaths recorded so far. Eight out of the 11 deaths in Washington State were directly linked to the Life Care Center nursing facility in Kirkland, King County.
In San Francisco, the city’s health officials have confirmed its first two cases that were possibly contracted within city limits. The patients do not have a relevant travel history or contact with anyone who had traveled to a high-risk country.
The mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, has urged the public to remain calm as preparations take place for possible community spread. “We want everyone to remain calm and continue taking precautions to keep themselves and their families healthy. We have been increasing resources and staffing to prepare for the community spread of this virus, and we will do everything we can to protect public health,” said Breed in a statement.
New York City
In the city of New York, two new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed on March 5, bringing the total to four cases in the city and the state. The new patients are believed to have contracted the virus through community spread.