Breaking: Minnesota To Restrict COVID-19 Testing To Specific Patients Amid Kit Shortage

This just released from the Minnesota Department of Health. They will be limiting COVID-19 tests to patients in certain circumstances due to a national shortage of testing kits.

The MDH announced Monday that it’s being forced to make adjustments to the testing criteria “to focus on the highest priority specimens,” amid a shortage in available testing kits nationwide.

Tests for COVID-19 will be restricted to:

  • Hospitalized patients
  • Healthcare workers
  • Those in long-term care.

Gov. Tim Walz had made a plea a few days ago to Vice President Mike Pence for more testing kits and lab supplies, saying that the state has been forced to ration what equipment it has. Minnesota saw its confirmed COVID-19 cases rise to 60 on Tuesday, the smallest increase seen since last Wednesday.

MDH director of infectious diseases Kris Ehresmann said on Monday that the total number of coronavirus patients in the state is likely higher given that there is not the capacity to test anyone with “mild” symptoms that can be managed at home. These patients are instead just being told to isolate to limit the spread to others.

Healthcare providers have been given the information on testing restrictions across the state, with providers told all patients with an undiagnosed fever or acute respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) that they should self-quarantine for 7 days after the onset of illness, or until 72 hours after the respiratory symptoms have gone, or the fever is resolved without the use of fever-reducing medications.

“Patients with symptoms who are not able to be tested should isolate themselves from household and intimate contacts as much as possible,” MDH adds.

“Household and intimate contacts of these individuals should limit their activities in public for 14 days after the incorporating precautions in the home, and monitor for symptoms.”

Ehresmann has said that the department’s “aspirational goal” is to give everyone the chance for testing, but that it’s not yet possible.

We will continue to update you as this story develops. More information and news can be found at www.theloon.com