By Kristi O’Connor | March 11, 2020 at 10:21 PM EDT – Updated March 12 at 9:01 AM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper says the CDC provided the state with enough supplies to test about 250 people for the COVID-19. Now, state and private health officials are trying to find other ways to get more people tested.
The test kits provided by the CDC are made up of several components, according to North Carolina State Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson. Tilson says one component is in short supply.
“We’ve received the test kits, but we are missing the extracting agent. It’s specifically the part of the process that allows us to take the genetic material out of the virus,” Tilson said.
North Carolina received enough of the extracting agent to test 250 people as of now, but Governor Roy Cooper says that’s not enough.
“We are trying to find different ways to get the extraction agent that we need from other sources to be able to continue in the state lab with the tests that we had to start with,” Cooper said.
In addition, North Carolina-based LabCorp developed a different kind of test that’s been approved by the FDA to screen for the virus.
“Labcorp has a way that doesn’t require this particular extraction agent. They are ramping up their capacity and taking samples from all over the state and doing tests.”
But due to demand, Cooper anticipates Labcorp’s testing to be stretched thin too. He says the University of North Carolina and Duke University are also searching for other methods of testing.
“Our mission right now is to find ways to test so that we can test more people.”
Governor Cooper says he does not know how many people LabCorp has tested so far because they are only required to report positive cases.
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