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State labs only processing around 300 COVID-19 specimens a day

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Someone asked me last night how many COVID-19 tests the state is doing every day and how many the state believes it needs to do. As you know, there’s a horrible national shortage of tests right now, although the situation has improved this week. I reached out to the administration yesterday and here’s the response…

Right now, state labs are processing around 300 specimens a day following the more stringent CDC guidelines around who qualifies for a test. Ideally, with private labs and additional testing materials for state labs, thousands of tests could be conducted per day statewide that would give us the data to closely monitor and track community spread. Sentinel surveillance could be expanded so experts could study that data.

* Meanwhile…

Gov. JB Pritzker has signed an emergency declaration, effective through April 12, enabling haulers to get free Illinois Department of Transportation overweight trucking permits for the movement of emergency relief supplies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s always important for haulers to be able to move supplies in a timely and safe manner, but it’s never been more important than right now,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “We want to assure everyone that we are doing everything we can to assist during this unprecedented time and ensure that the supply chain remains strong.”

Operators are required to carry a copy of the order and waiver, which can be found at webapps.dot.illinois.gov/ITAP.

The order does not apply to posted bridges and local highways with special and seasonal weight restrictions. Haulers can use www.GettingAroundIllinois.com to determine if their routes are free of size and weight restrictions.

“Many truck operators are facing enormous pressure to keep supply lines open in light of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Don Schaefer, executive vice president of the Mid-West Truckers Association. “This action will keep trucks moving on a timely basis to meet the needs of a concerned public.”

* And…

Daily Public Schedule: Wednesday, Mar. 18, 2020

What: Gov. Pritzker to join Metro East officials to discuss the statewide response to COVID-19.
Where: St. Clair County Health Department, Annex Conference Center Meeting Room, 19 Public Square, Belleville
When: 10:30 a.m.

What: The Pritzker administration to hold a daily press briefing on COVID-19.
Where: Jackson County Courthouse, Courtroom 3, 1001 Walnut Street, Murphysboro
When: 2:30 p.m.

* One more for now

With Illinois on Tuesday reporting 160 coronavirus cases and one death, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has assigned duties to about 60 Illinois National Guard service members to assist the state with its COVID-19 response.

Pritzker joins several other governors who have called on the National Guard for help. The service members were assigned duties Monday, the governor’s office said. […]

On Tuesday, the governor’s office said Pritzker a day prior had activated about 60 Illinois National Guard service members — that includes 43 airmen from the Peoria-based 182nd Airlift Wing’s Medical Group and 17 planners and liaison officers from both Army National Guard and Air National Guard units from across the state, including medical planners.

“The activation is to assist with anticipated need for logistic support and medical staffing,” Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh said.

       

14 Comments
  1. - Lag Time - Wednesday, Mar 18, 20 @ 10:08 am:

    This Chicago Tribune article lays out the problem in a way that shows how folks are being personally impacted.

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavirus/ct-coronavirus-testing-illinois–20200317-yenasnxqlfg7hkscouggd6gdv4-story.html


  2. - Leatherneck - Wednesday, Mar 18, 20 @ 10:24 am:

    What: The Pritzker administration to hold a daily press briefing on COVID-19.
    Where: Jackson County Courthouse, Courtroom 3, 1001 Walnut Street, Murphysboro
    When: 2:30 p.m.——–

    Today is the 95th anniversary of the Tri-State Tornado. Mar. 18, 1925, which was also a Wednesday. Murphysboro among the hardest hit with 234 killed.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tri-State_Tornado#Illinois


  3. - Charlie Brown - Wednesday, Mar 18, 20 @ 10:26 am:

    300 specimens is not 300 people.

    I think positive tests are triple-checked?

    Test-rationing is a dreadful sign. Can’t Illinois adopt its own guidelines, greenlight independent testing, and dare Trump to intervene?


  4. - Still anon - Wednesday, Mar 18, 20 @ 10:39 am:

    *Ideally, with private labs and additional testing materials for state labs, thousands of tests could be conducted per day statewide…*
    Wait, didn’t the feds already waive requirements that tests be run exclusively through the CDC?


  5. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Mar 18, 20 @ 10:43 am:

    The pathway back to some sense of normalcy includes widespread testing. 300/day does not even come close.

    The lack of data is one of the most frustrating aspects of this pandemic.


  6. - Still anon - Wednesday, Mar 18, 20 @ 10:48 am:

    Why is Illinois that low? New York City is at 5,000 tests per day (and growing). New York State is over 10,000 tests per day, as of yesterday.


  7. - Still anon - Wednesday, Mar 18, 20 @ 10:50 am:

    Pot - correct. I believe New York is the only location really discussing details about test availability, lab capacity, etc. For comparison, though, South Korea is testing about 15,000 people a day in the entire country.


  8. - dbk - Wednesday, Mar 18, 20 @ 10:52 am:

    A small town in Italy, Vo, southwest of Padua, ended up testing everybody - all 3,300 residents. They found 3% were carriers, quarantined them; when the next tests were done, infection rate was down to 0.3% (6 people). Though in the epicenter of the outbreak, they essentially contained the virus. This method - relentless testing of everyone, including the asymptomatic - has been expanded to the entire region of Veneto (11,000 swabs a day).

    So: there is an argument to be made for massive testing.

    https://www.ft.com/content/0dba7ea8-6713-11ea-800d-da70cff6e4d3


  9. - revvedup - Wednesday, Mar 18, 20 @ 10:59 am:

    Labs may still be ramping up for testing, including supplies, equipment, and technicians: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/lab/index.html
    The FDA also had to approve or waive: https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/mcm-issues/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19


  10. - Still anon - Wednesday, Mar 18, 20 @ 11:49 am:

    Dr. Birk seems to have addressed this issue and my question. When the feds sent out 400,000 test kits they focused on problematic areas. Presumably, that is why New York and surrounding region have tests. She also indicated we would soon be able to run at least 1 million tests a week.


  11. - thoughts matter - Wednesday, Mar 18, 20 @ 12:27 pm:

    Regarding the truck drivers…
    Pay attention when you are in a drive thrust a restaurant. If a truck driver walks up to the window or the entry door and gets turned away: take his order and drive thru for him/her. We need to make sure they get fed.

    If the governors’ office reads this - make an exception to the closure rule for them so they can walk up and order.


  12. - Steward As Well..... - Wednesday, Mar 18, 20 @ 12:44 pm:

    The other question that needs to be asked is how long before one gets the test results back? Watching q&a on the tube the answer is it depends upon the lab. Of course with a high number needed testing in a particular area that has an effect. But let’s say you are first in line.

    I have heard anywhere from 2 to 6 days. South Korea was getting test results for their people in six hours. One can only imagine how quick Illinois state labs are doing.


  13. - Johnnie F. - Wednesday, Mar 18, 20 @ 2:01 pm:

    This post should be titled The Hollowing out of State Government- State labs only processing 300 COVID-19 specimens a day.


  14. - Leave a Light On George - Wednesday, Mar 18, 20 @ 7:00 pm:

    State labs only processing 300 COVID-19 specimens a day.

    Following the FOID card model.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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