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Feinstein Calls for Rapid Testing of All Suspected Coronavirus Cases

            Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence asking for rapid testing of all suspected coronavirus cases. The letter comes after a woman was diagnosed with the virus in California after a four-day wait for a test. Her diagnosis is especially significant because she has no relevant travel history or contact with known patients.

            “I write with concerns about the spread of the coronavirus and the newest case reported and ask for rapid testing of all suspected cases,” wrote Senator Feinstein.

            “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the woman diagnosed with coronavirus yesterday in California was the first ‘person who reportedly did not have relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient with COVID-19.’ This presents a concern, predicted by public health experts, that the virus may spread in ways not previously recognized and that the number of cases in the United States could rise significantly.”

            Full text of the letter is available here and below.

February 27, 2020

The Honorable Michael Pence
Vice President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. Vice President: 

            I write with concerns about the spread of the coronavirus and the newest case reported and ask for rapid testing of all suspected cases. 

            According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the woman diagnosed with coronavirus yesterday in California was the first “person who reportedly did not have relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient with COVID-19.”  This presents a concern, predicted by public health experts, that the virus may spread in ways not previously recognized and that the number of cases in the United States could rise significantly.

            I understand the newly diagnosed patient was not tested immediately for coronavirus, despite the request by her attending physicians at the University of California-Davis Medical Center.  It is unclear whether the delay was caused by overly restrictive CDC testing criteria or whether the CDC was unable to process the diagnostic test faster.  Either way, this case demonstrates the need for more rapid testing.

            Based on warnings by public health experts, the rapid spread of cases in other countries and the nature of the new case announced yesterday, I believe we need to take every step now to ensure the nation is prepared to limit the damage caused by this disease.  I stand ready to work with you on this critical issue. 

Sincerely,      

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

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