Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan warned Tuesday that coronavirus testing shortages and delays could make the pandemic even worse.
“We’re still having, now with this resurgence here in the United States, massive problems with our testing program, which is still kind of a patchwork of different testing going on in different states around the country,” Hogan told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
His comments come as multiple states are grappling with surging caseloads and deaths from the virus, and as some states, labs and public health departments are reporting that turnaround times for diagnostic testing have slowed. Health officials have cautioned that the long delays Americans are seeing across the country in getting Covid-19 test results is undercutting their usefulness.
“While we’ve made some improvements since the beginning,” Hogan said, adding that “we’ve still got a long way to go – this virus is not behind us.”
“We’re still continuing to fall short in many areas,” he said. “And this robust testing that we need across the country, we started to improve, and now with the virus spiking up we’re running into shortages, waiting 10 days, lines – it’s looking a lot like it did back in March and April.”
CNN previously reported results can now take an average of four to six days for the general population or in some states like Arizona up to three weeks.
Hogan last week slammed President Donald Trump’s early response to the pandemic, calling it “hopeless” in an excerpt from his upcoming book published in The Washington Post and elaborating on his own efforts to secure testing kits and prevent the deaths of residents in his state. The governor drew attention early on in the pandemic after acquiring half a million test kits with the help of his wife, Yumi, from her native South Korea as the state faced burgeoning cases in April.
Hogan on Tuesday said that testing challenges could be exacerbated by the flu season in the fall.
“We’re still not up to speed on contact tracing, and we’ve caught up a little bit on personal protective equipment,” he said. “We’ve made some progress, but I feel that as we head into this fall with the confluence of the flu season, with the spike and rebound of this coronavirus, we could be caught short once again and it could be even a more difficult situation that we’re facing in the future.”
Maryland is still working its way through the half a million tests from South Korea, but will likely have to order more, Hogan added.
“We’re utilizing them now, still, to help us with our outbreaks and clusters, we’re using about 3,000 of them a day,” he said. “We have a supply that we’re still utilizing that will last us for another couple of months, but we’re probably going to have to order more of them to take us through this now big demand that’s happening with the fall coming.”
CNN’s Jamie Ehrlich contributed to this report.