Timberwolves star player Karl-Anthony Towns has donated $100,000 to help with the Mayo Clinic's novel coronavirus testing response.
This past week, Mayo Clinic developed its own test for COVID-19, creating the functional test in three weeks when a normal test takes an average of six months to develop. The testing capabilities have helped boost Minnesota's limited number of tests available to the public amid the epidemic.
"Mayo Clinic has begun rolling out a test to detect the virus that causes COVID-19. My hope is that we can fight this virus quicker and more efficiently by increasing the testing capabilities and availability and Mayo Clinic’s overall COVID-19 response," Towns announced Sunday evening.
"This is why I will be donating $100K to support these efforts. Thank you to the Mayo Clinic workers and all healthcare workers who are working around the clock to treat us. You are our heroes.
"We’re all in this together, let’s protect ourselves and the community around us."
As of Sunday, two tests conducted by Mayo Clinic count towards the 35 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Health, however, is not counting the negatives tests from Mayo Clinic in its total number of patients tested, which as of Sunday's data was at 1,422.
“Our team has been working around the clock for the past month to develop a test for COVID-19,” said Dr. William Morice II, chair of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic. “We are blown away by Karl’s gesture to help us fast-track offering testing to more patients across Minnesota and the nation.”
Towns' donation is expected to help Mayo Clinic move from 200 tests per day to more than 1,000 each day, with that capability possible in the coming weeks. \
There are likely "many more" than 35 people with coronavirus in Minnesota, according to Khris Ehresmann, infectious disease director with the department of health, who confirmed Sunday that community transmission has been confirmed in three COVID-19 patients.
Community transmission means those three patients did not travel out of the state and do not know who they contracted the virus from. The three patients are from Hennepin, Ramsey and Dakota counties.
On Sunday evening, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unveiled new guidance to the American public, "strongly recommending" that there be no gatherings of more than 50 people for at least the next eight weeks.