Washington (CNN)Confusion and delays appear to persist in testing Americans for coronavirus even after an outcry from state and local health authorities that the United States was behind in determining the extent of the outbreak.
Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the administration’s response to the coronavirus crisis, acknowledged Thursday there was a shortfall in the number of testing kits required to meet demand.
“We don’t have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward,” Pence told reporters while touring 3M facilities in Minnesota.
The vice president said the government would be able to provide testing “for those that we believe have been exposed, for those who are showing symptoms.”
But his remarks were an acknowledgment that the administration is still not prepared to meet an expected spike in demand in tests for coronavirus, which has spread to 17 states.
It was the latest in a confusing string of statements from the administration about the availability of coronavirus tests. The issue has emerged as a key flaw in the Trump administration’s response, which has frustrated doctors and state health officials who want to identify patients with coronavirus to isolate them and prevent the virus’s spread.
“It’s simply inadequate,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said last week of the testing capacity for coronavirus.
New guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday formalized an earlier announcement by Pence that any American with a doctor’s order can be tested for the virus.
It removed earlier restrictions that limited testing for the virus to people who’d been hospitalized with a fever and r