Walz: More Widespread Testing Needed to Reopen Economy
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Governor Tim Walz's Stay At Home order has been extended until May 4th, what happens after that is unclear.
Walz says in order to start opening up the economy again we need to have more widespread testing, be able to more accurately trace the virus, and be able to isolate the most at risk.
He says another ongoing issue is the lack of personal protective equipment for our healthcare workers.
The average burn rate for PPE before COVID on N95 masks was about three to five million per month. We need 120 million per month. So when you hear numbers about five or even 10 million masks being delivered it's way way too small.
Walz says we're not testing nearly enough people either locally or nationally. He says in Minnesota we've tested about 40,000 people since the virus began and he wants to get the number to 40,000 a week.
We have to have an accurate way to understand who is infected currently and who has been infected. We have to have a way that we can test everyone that needs them and everyone on the spot for both the disease and the test that shows the antibody. Then we have to have the capacity to isolate those people, which we believe we have.
Walz says he wants the state to have the ability to make our own swabs and testing kits so they can ramp up to at least 5,000 tests a day.
President Donald Trump says he will decide, not the Governors when the nation's economy will start to reopen. However, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz says it's the virus that will layout the time table for us. He says we're not at the point yet where the country or our state can safely get back to normal.
We've tested less than one percent of the American population. Epidemiologists and others will tell you what that number needs to be and it's an awful lot more than .9 percent. And so here in Minnesota, I can no longer wait. When the federal government tells us they've sent us 15 quick tests and then no reagents, and then when you try to reorder it and you can't, you're forbidden to reorder because FEMA has the order.