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The Latest Obstacle to Getting Tested? A Shortage of Swabs and Face Masks.

At the University of California San Francisco Health — a hospital system at the heart of one of the nation’s coronavirus outbreaks — officials said they would have to stop testing patients in about five days because they will run out of nasopharyngeal swabs, which are inserted into the nasal passage of patients to get samples for testing. Other hospitals elsewhere in the country were ending their practice of using a second swab to test for the flu in an effort to preserve their supply.

The main manufacturer of the swabs, Copan, is an Italian company whose manufacturing plant is in Northern Italy, a region that has itself been hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

Making matters more difficult, the swabs must have just the right ingredients — the shafts cannot be wood, for example — or the virus might not be properly detected. “You can’t go to your local store and get Q-tips,” he said.

Dr. Ulrike Sujansky, a physician in solo private practice in San Mateo, Calif., one of the areas with the most cases, said she has only been able to test a few patients because of problems with supplies.

“We cannot test. We cannot test,” she said. The swab kits she ordered from the two biggest lab companies, LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics, either arrived late or were not the right type, she said. She also does not have adequate masks or protective supplies, despite weeks of efforts to purchase them and recent appeals to state and local health authorities and hospitals. “I’m not given any tools to deal with this complete crisis.”

A shortage of masks, gowns and other protective gear — which has put a strain on many other areas of care — is also getting in the way of testing.

March 6 Testing Flashback Lie

Lie Exposed March 12

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Pressed about limited availability of coronavirus tests, CDC Dir. Robert Redfield turns to NIH official Dr. Anthony Fauci, who says, “The system is not really geared to what we need right now, what you are asking for. That is a failing...Let’s admit it."


On March 6, Trump proclaimed "Anyone that needs a test gets one. And the tests are all perfect."

The Congressional record shows we still could not test by March 12.

By the way, There Aren’t Enough Ventilators to Cope With the Coronavirus either.

Test Kits from Italy

Fox News just reported Air Force flew 500,000 coronavirus test swabs from Italy to Tennessee

Gen. David Goldfein told reporters at the Pentagon that the swabs landed in Memphis on Monday. They were transported across the Atlantic on an Air Force C-17 cargo plane and now will be distributed around the country, people familiar with the mission told Defense One.

If accurate, that's good news.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock