North Carolina faces shortage of coronavirus testing kits, Cooper says

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- State officials confirmed Friday night that they have tested 19 people for the coronavirus, with two of them testing positive. Gov. Roy Cooper said he expects the numbers to go up as testing increases.

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.

"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."

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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North Carolina facing shortage of coronavirus testing kits, Gov. Roy Cooper said Friday.

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