ROCHESTER, Minn. - There are two methods of testing for coronavirus: one uses a swab, the other is a blood test for antibodies - the presence of which suggests patients have recovered from the coronavirus.
Mayo Clinic is working around the clock to slow the spread of coronavirus. Gov. Tim Walz says the state needs to process at least 5,000 coronavirus tests a day before it can reopen the economy. Now, Mayo Clinic can produce that many tests and then some.
Mayo Clinic has the capacity to do 8,000 swab tests and 10,000 blood tests for coronavirus a day. Mayo Clinic has the infrastructure to make the tests available - but faced a supply shortage. Both swabs and reagents to administer the tests were in short supply. But Mayo Clinic's Dr. William Morice is working with vendors to improve supplies.
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"Because of our history because of the amount of testing we do already, we have strong relationships with a lot of these companies, and a lot has been, myself personally talking with leaders of those companies, understanding what their supply issues are - what realistically we can do and making sure we are prioritizing in some way. So if we make a commitment to the state and others, we can really follow through on that commitment," Dr. Morice said.
Sheriff Kevin Torgerson wants to test members of law enforcement as soon as possible.
"There are some situations where we do have to be in physical contact with people. Obviously, if we have to arrest someone, we do not have a choice to step back and do those things from a distance, we have to be up close and personal with people," Sheriff Torgerson said.
He wants an effort made to test those on the frontline first.
"Definitely medical folks, first responders, should be right in the middle of that, I think, and if possible, at the front of the line, I hope," Torgerson said.
The City of Rochester in a statement says in part: "We are proud of Mayo's continued efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 and the contributions they are making to help reopen the Minnesota economy."
Mayo Clinic's goal is to be capable of performing 20,000 blood tests per day if the demand is there.