But he also said more supplies are needed.
Cooper made the remarks at a news conference Friday afternoon where he and NCDHHS also discussed the state's second confirmed novel coronavirus case, in Chatham County. The state's first case involved a Wake County man who returned from Washington State.
.@NC_Governor: #NorthCarolina is coming up with contingency plans in case @CDCgov does not come through w/ supplies in time, which includes bypassing Feds & going right to manufacturer, @LABCORP. @ABC11_WTVD @ABC #CoronaVirusNC #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/lJxbICsv0G— Jonah Kaplan (@KaplanABC11) March 6, 2020
"We know that it's important to get people tested," Cooper said. "It's clear that North Carolina and other states need more test kits from the CDC. I've spoken with VP Mike Pence and Secretary Mandy Cohen has sent a letter to the US Department of Health and Human Secretary Azar outlining this critical need on behalf of North Carolina."
RELATED: Death toll rises to 12 as health officials scramble to make more tests available
"People will read more and talk more about this virus," Cooper said. "And I understand that people are worried. Know that the health and safety of our state is a top priority."
NEW: @ncdhhs @SecMandyCohen appears to confirm my hunch - #NorthCarolina is short on supplies for #COVID19 testing kits from the @CDCgov; state officials are working with @LABCORP, which is based in Burlington, on producing new testing kits. @ABC11_WTVD @ABC #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/b56tFdvCVi— Jonah Kaplan (@KaplanABC11) March 6, 2020
Cohen, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, said DHHS has enough tests on hand for 150 people -- and supplies are on the way to test 500 more.
"While this amount is less than what we need to test everyone that meets the new CDC guidelines announced earlier this week, it's a start," Cohen said. "Plus, we are working with our state partners to expand testing, as the Governor mentioned."
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Cohen said they're working on expanding testing and signing agreements with the University of North Carolina and Duke University to begin testing next week.
She also said she talked to the CEO of Burlington-based LabCorp and that it is ramping up testing.
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