Gov. Steve Sisolak, joined by Nevada State Public Health Laboratory Director Dr. Mark Pandori, on Thursday delivered an update on the status of the state’s testing capabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The ability to increase or develop capacity to perform widescale testing has been a national issue since the start of the COVID-19 public health crisis, but I’m proud of the advances Nevada has made,” Sisolak said. “Dr. Pandori and leaders across the state have developed innovative solutions and continue to aggressively lead this effort.”
Despite a nationwide shortage of collection kits, Dr. Pandori and his team have found innovative, groundbreaking solutions to help make sure Nevadans who are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms can get tested, Sisolak said.
“Testing provides us the vital intelligence we need in this war,” Pandori said.
Sisolak said that the data so far shows that Hispanics, African-Americans and tribal communities are not being tested for COVID-19 at the same rate as other populations. Abbott testing machines distributed by the federal government will be sent to local health authorities in Clark County, Washoe County, Carson City, Winnemucca and Elko, he added, and tests will be administered in partnership with the federally qualified health centers in those areas.
The expanded testing has been mentioned repeatedly as a necessary condition for a full reopening of the economy.Sisolak was pleased to discuss additional progress in that area he credited to Pandori.
“We’ve had issues gaining access to collection and testing kits,” Sisolak said. “Those are the swabs that medical professionals use to collect a sample from patients who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. As you can imagine, those swabs have become very hard to find.
“But Dr. Pandori’s lab has come up with some groundbreaking solutions when it comes to the collection kits. I was on an all-governors call, and Nevada is ahead of the game when it comes to innovation because of all the work Dr. Pandori and leaders across the state are doing.”
The Nevada State Public Health Lab has learned how to construct collection kids and is now building them for the state, while the UNR School of Medicine is 3D printing swabs for kit construction. The Daily Situation Report issued Thursday states that the NSPHL was the first in the nation to do this.
Sisolak said Nevadans can get updates on COVID-19 in the state at nvhealthresponse.nv.gov, which will include the Daily Situation Report.