COVID-19 Breaking Brief: Governor: Illinois not yet meeting testing goals
Published by Capitol News Illinois on April 08, 2020
By Rebecca Anzel
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday the state is unable to reach its daily novel coronavirus testing goal this week as previously expected.
According to medical and scientific experts, he said, processing 10,000 tests per day will give officials the clearest picture of how many confirmed COVID-19 cases are in the state and how it is spreading.
Laboratories “only just recently surpassed” 6,000 tests daily, Pritzker said.
The hold-up, Pritzker said, is due to “new laboratory automation machines” manufactured by Thermo Fisher Scientific, originally promised to process a “multi-thousand daily unit increase” of tests — 200 hourly.
The five machines, distributed to Illinois’ three state-run labs, are not giving technicians “the level of output that we want to see,” the governor said.
“More importantly, these tests are not producing valid results in a way that meets our exacting standards,” Pritzker added. “I am as impatient as the rest of you are, wanting to increase testing, but I will not sacrifice accuracy for the sake of speed. The tests and results they will provide are too important.”
Until those machines are operating correctly, the governor said they will not be used to examine Illinois tests.
“I want to be clear with all of you that we are choosing the best path, but not necessarily the easiest path,” Pritzker said.
At the same briefing Wednesday, the Department of Public Health announced Illinois has 15,078 confirmed cases of COVID-19, up 1,529 cases over the last 24 hours.
The novel coronavirus is present in 78 counties — Stark County is the latest to report a case.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Public Health Department, added 82 additional Illinoisans died from the virus in Boone, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Macon, Madison, McHenry, St. Clair, Tazewell and Will Counties. That brings the state’s total to 462 fatalities.