Colorado governor criticises the US’s coronavirus testing abilities as ‘almost useless from an epidemiological or even diagnostic perspective’

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis gets tested for the coronavirus on May 18, 2020. Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on Sunday criticised the United States’ coronavirus testing infrastructure as a “complete disgrace.”
  • It’s a laboriously slow process, which makes the the testing system “almost useless from an epidemiological or even diagnostic perspective,” Polis said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
  • Colorado, where COVID-19 cases are trending upward, is continuing to reopen, but Polis signed an executive order making face masks mandatory statewide.
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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on Sunday issued a scathing review of the United States’ coronavirus testing abilities.

“The national testing scene is a complete disgrace,” he told Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “So, every test we send out to private lab partners nationally, Quest, LabCorp, seven days, eight days, nine days – maybe six days if we’re lucky. Almost useless from an epidemiological or even diagnostic perspective.”

As of Monday, Colorado has confirmed more than 41,100 cases and at least 1,752 deaths, based on data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The state has experienced an increase in cases in July, which prompted Polis to end in-person service at restaurants and bars.

Colorado has conducted 435,938 total COVID-19 tests as of Sunday, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

“Fortunately, our state lab has done yeoman’s work,” Polis said. “We’re running three shifts a day there, 24 hours a day. So while some are still sent out of state – and unfortunately that takes a long time and we can’t count on it and our country needs to get testing right – we’re trying to build that capacity in Colorado.”

Local agencies are able to turn around COVID-19 tests in 1-2 days, he added.

Polis, a Democrat in his first term, instated a statewide “no mask, no service” mandate on Thursday, which allows business owners and employees to call 911 on people who are violating the rule. He told Todd that Colorado plans to continue to reopen, but carefully and with precautions in place due to the threat of the highly contagious coronavirus.

“It’s not a time for anxiety, it’s a time for caution, and really taking the measures that we need to do to protect ourselves,” he said. “And that means mask-wearing in public, it means increased social distancing, it means when you do have outbreaks, acting quickly at the site level.”