U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin questions Vice President Pence on diversion of testing supplies from Wis.

Posted at 7:06 AM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 08:07:26-04

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is questioning the vice president after a recent report on a change in testing procedures at area hospitals.

Advocate Aurora Health told staff members that due to constraints on testing supplies, they were forced to adjust the COVID-19 testing approach. On Aug. 5, not all patients receiving elective procedures would be tested for COVID-19 beforehand. Chief Officer of Aurora Dr. Jeff Bahr told TMJ4 News that all healthcare organizations are facing shortages in testing supplies, with the federal government ordering suppliers to redirect their swabs to other hot-spots.

Baldwin sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence on Aug. 12. Pence currently heads the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

"President Trump put you in charge of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, so I am writing with deep concerns about our ongoing testing supply shortages and the reported diversion of supplies from Wisconsin, even as your own taskforce has labeled our state a ‘hot spot’ and we have just experienced, once again, a single-day record of new coronavirus cases," wrote Baldwin in the letter. "This pressing and perilous situation was created by the Trump Administration’s continued failure to increase our national production of supplies, put in place a national testing strategy, and provide states with the testing supplies to implement it. Furthermore, this follows a shameful track record of the Trump Administration ignoring requests for federal support from the state. I am urging the Coronavirus Task Force to make testing supplies, including reagent, available to both public and private labs in the state of Wisconsin."

As of Wednesday, there was 62,263 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wisconsin.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Pence are expected to visit Wisconsin next week to counter the Democratic National Convention, which kicks off on Monday.

To read Baldwin's full letter, click here.

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