MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On April 22, Gov. Tim Walz said he wanted the state to be doing 20,000 molecular tests and 15,000 serology tests a day, all within two to three weeks. He called the goal the “Minnesota Moonshot.”
As the state gets ready for restaurants and bars to get back to business, where do we stand on testing?
“The plan we have in place should allow Minnesota to be testing at rate higher than anyplace else in country, potentially in the world,” Walz said in April.
He also said, at the time, that if the tests don’t get to the level they need to be at, he should be held accountable.
The testing ramp up is thanks to a partnership among health care providers, the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic.
“It’s not the supply so much as it is there are many moving parts,” Dr. Bobbi Pritt, chair of clinical microbiology at Mayo Clinic, said.
Even on the highest day for molecular tests, the state did around 8,600 of them. Pritt says significantly ramping up testing takes coordination among health care providers.
“We have a diverse system and everyone is using different tests in different way with different turnarounds. It’s not just a straightforward solution of let’s just swab everyone,” Pritt said.
On Wednesday, Walz said he thought the ramp-up to 20,000 tests a day was supposed to be by the end of May, but he said that was not a necessity to start reopening the state.
“Did it impact this decision because we didn’t have the 10,000 or the 20,000 of where we’re going to? No, not so much, because I think we needed to see this roll out and see what happens,” Walz said.
State health officials said there has not been adequate demand for tests. Walz also said the federal government took testing machines that were on their way to Minnesota.
“The good news is. We have the capacity to test over 10 thousand today. We are sitting on that capacity without the people testing. not coming in asymptomatic and us figuring out how to push the tests to them,” Walz said.
Pritt said right now the Mayo Clinic has the capacity to do 10,000 molecular tests a day. They have a plan to double that number within three weeks.