As concern grows over the spread of the coronavirus – now known as COVID-19 – Minnesota does not have a kit in place that can accurately identify the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed on Tuesday that only five states have a working testing kit that can identify the virus, and Minnesota isn't one of them.
"Minnesota does not yet have a working test kit from CDC," a Minnesota Department for Health spokesman told BMTN. "We are looking into developing the tests ourselves."
So far, no confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Minnesota. Four patients have been tested for it, with three found to be negative, with the results on the fourth pending.
All four of those patients were tested by the CDC, which does have effective testing kits, and as such there are no questions about those previous results.
"Until we have tests that pass our quality control and verification procedures, samples from any current PUIs (persons under investigation) will be sent to CDC as well," the MDH spokesman said.
The Guardian reported on Tuesday that the CDC stopped the distribution of coronavirus testing kits after they were found to be flawed, and it's not clear when kits that actually work will be made available to states that don't have them.
It comes on the same day the CDC's head of immunization, Nancy Messonnier, said it expects that "community spread" of the virus to reach the U.S., as has been seen in other countries currently dealing with the worst of the outbreak, namely China, South Korea, Iran and Italy.
"It’s not so much a question of if this will happen any more, but rather more exactly when this will happen, and how many people in this country will have severe illness," she said.
The CDC said the U.S. should be braced for disruption, potentially economically but also in the form of school closures, and suggests workers should look into the potential for teleworking options.
President Donald Trump on the other hand gave a view that is at odds with his federal experts, saying Tuesday that coronavirus is "very well under control in our country" and "is going to go away."