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Inslee: Washington needs more coronavirus test supplies

| March 29, 2020 11:13 AM

SEATTLE (AP) — Gov. Jay Inslee said Sunday that Washington state still has a shortage of coronavirus testing kits and again suggested the shutdown of most businesses and extreme social distancing would likely have to be extended to fight the disease.

Inslee appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Washington has been testing more people for COVID-19 recently, but the governor said it lacks some necessary materials to do more.

“Things as simple as the swabs. When the little vials -- when you put the swab in it to send it to the lab, it needs a particular medium in it to preserve it. We just do not have those simple things,” Inslee said.

The Democrat urged a “World War II” kind of mobilization to manufacture needed materials.

The state Department of Health says more than 54,000 people have been tested for coronavirus in Washington. More than 4,300 have tested positive. At least 189 people have died.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in several weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

Inslee said the two-week stay-at-home order he issued, which began March 25, would likely need to be extended or the disease would “continue to spread like wildfire to every single corner of my state.”

“We are seeing some very modest success in bending that curve just a little bit, but that’s very unpredictable,” he said on CNN. “And we have a long, long ways to go. ”