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Polis: Colorado expands state lab capacity for virus testing

July 23, 2020 GMT

DENVER (AP) — Colorado is increasing its public-private partnerships to ramp up the state’s coronavirus testing, Gov. Jared Polis said Thursday, bemoaning the lack of a national testing strategy that could produce rapid results for all.

Polis said it’s “unacceptable” that many coronavirus tests take more than a week to deliver results, negatively impacting contact tracing, quarantining and other state efforts to stem the virus.

“That’s why we as Colorado are going to be taking matters into our own hands and expanding our state lab capacity and bringing additional in-state, private lab partners online,” Polis said at a news conference. He cited state partnerships with Children’s Hospital and National Jewish Health as well as private labs including Mako Medical, Curative Inc. and ATCG.

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Due to an increase in Colorado coronavirus cases over the last four weeks, the state laboratory is now staffed around the clock, Polis said. State test processing is averaging 10,000 a day, compared to 2,000 in April, he said.

“We’re going to lead by example in Colorado and be one of the states that get it right,” the Democratic governor said.

Polis again criticized the lack of a coordinated federal coronavirus testing strategy.

“While we would all be better off if there was a national testing strategy and effective management of supplies, that’s not the world we live in,” Polis said. “So instead we really turn to our smart, hard-working innovative folks in Colorado who are building and expanding the very best system that a state can provide on our own.”

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in two to three weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems can face severe illness and death. The vast majority of people recover.

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Nieberg is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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