VP Mike Pence says governors should work with the Trump administration to roll out COVID-19 testing

Posted at 8:30 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 17:43:37-04

MADISON — The need for more coronavirus testing supplies grows by the day in Milwaukee and around the state. Charles Benson asked Vice President Mike Pence why there isn't more testing as he toured a ventilator plant in Madison.

Vice President Pence visited the GE Healthcare facility in Madison Tuesday, where they are making ventilators. They've already double capacity and expect to double capacity again by the end of June.

"The fact that no American who has needed a ventilator has been denied a ventilator is a great accomplishment for our nation, and you all played a leading role in that," said Pence.

The vice president says efforts by union workers here will help the country exceed the goal of creating 100,000 ventilators in 100 days.

But when it comes to testing supplies, the need is still high.

Governor Evers wants to test 85,000 a week, and Milwaukee Mayor Barrett needs more testing to address the disproportionate number African Americans hit hardest by COVID-19 cases and deaths.

Why can't they get more testing?

"We are working to scale testing all across the country, including here in Wisconsin," said Pence. "At this time, across the country, we are testing 150,000 tests a day and maybe more than that. But we truly believe we could double that amount of testing in a very short period of time if governors across the country will work with laboratories and our administration to act big."

But Pence says it will be the nation's governors who will lead the effort in partnership with the administration to roll out testing.

As people look for more testing, will each governor have to find their own supplies? Is it going to be Wisconsin versus Michigan? Has the president looked at a possible national testing plan for everyone?

"We've actually established a national supply chain. Not just for testing but for medical equipment - for gowns, masks, gloves," said Pence. "We believe that we have a sufficient amount of testing in America today - for every state in this country to go into phase one - once they meet the other criteria - 14 days of declining cases, sufficient hospitalization."

Pence was in Wisconsin as Republican leaders in the legislature sued Governor Tony Evers over who has the power to extend Safer at Home policy. Pence believes the president has given governors a road map on how to reopen.

"That's the reason why the president last week laid out the guidelines to open up America again. I know Governor Evers has laid out a framework."

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