National coronavirus testing kit shortage and disruptions in supply affect local hospitals

NOW: National coronavirus testing kit shortage and disruptions in supply affect local hospitals

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- With the number of positive COVID-19 cases still increasing, new shortages and disruptions in supplies could hold back efforts to track and curb the spread of the disease.

In a statement earlier this week, Advocate Aurora Health announced it will stop testing for COVID-19 before surgery and will be closing community testing sites.

Advocate Aurora attributed the changes to a delay in shipments.

The country is going through a critical shortage of certain equipment and supplies, including reagents -- the chemical ingredients needed to detect whether the coronavirus is present in a sample.

Ascension Wisconsin also experienced a disruption in supply, but in a statement, their chief clinical officer, Dr. Brusko, says they do not have a shortage of tests.

A spokesperson for Froedtert says they have a sufficient supply. The Department of Health addressed the backlog, saying they're doing everything they can to keep supply chains local and avoid that problem.

"We have been advocating with our federal representatives with the White House with FEMA over the last few months, actually since the beginning of the pandemic, to assure an adequate supply of reagent coming into Wisconsin," said Julie Willems Van Dijk, Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

DHS says there were 989 new positive cases Friday, Aug. 7, and an additional 12 people have died, bringing the total of Wisconsin lives lost due to COVID-19 to 990.

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