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Governor’s office responds after Virginia Republican Party highlights state’s lag in coronavirus testing

Republicans point out lag in testing, governor’s office announces largest one-day increase in testing

Governor's office responds to Virginia Republican Party concerns over testing
Governor's office responds to Virginia Republican Party concerns over testing

ROANOKE, Va. – The Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) is calling on the governor’s office to do more in light of numbers showing where Virginia ranks regarding coronavirus testing.

RPV, citing data compiled by Kaiser Family Foundation, shows Virginia is 49th out of 52 when looking at the number of coronavirus tests results per 1,000 population. Virginia was ranked among the 50 states, as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Virginia registers a 10.1 in that metric. Leading the way is Rhode Island, with 56.8 tests per 1,000 population.

“Enough is enough. Ralph Northam needs to answer for his failure to lead Virginia through this crisis,” said RPV Chairman Jack Wilson. “Enough with the platitudes, enough with the grandstanding, and enough with putting Virginia families 49th.”

Here’s a look at the data RPV is referencing:

10 News reached out to the governor’s office asking for a comment on RPV’s statement.

Rather than address the statistic RPV presented, the governor’s office focused on the future.

“Since the Governor announced a new testing task force last week, statewide testing capacity has increased 41 percent; in fact, Virginia tested over 5,500 individuals within the last 24-hours, the highest one-day total since this pandemic began,” according to the statement provided to 10 News.

Looking to the past, the governor’s office cited the lack of coordination provided at the federal level.

“In the absence of a coordinated federal approach to testing, every single state is struggling to secure the critical test supplies and capacity we need. Given limited resources, Virginia was focused first on ensuring high-priority testing to reduce hospitalizations, increase our hospital capacity, and ensure healthcare providers were not running out of PPE. We are now in a position to ramp up the proactive widespread testing needed to ease our statewide restrictions in a safe and effective manner—and that’s what we are doing.”

By taking into account Virginia’s testing numbers from Thursday, which as the governor’s office said, represent the largest one-day increase in testing, Virginia’s number increases from 10.1 to 10.68.

Looking at the other claim made by RPV, they’re saying that Virginia is near the top for confirmed cases.

KFF data shows that 17% of Virginia’s tests have been positive results, tying it with Iowa for 14th in the country.

However, taking into account the governor’s office statement, this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.

If Virginia has been focusing its testing efforts on high-priority patients, then the tests would be more focused on people who do indeed have the virus; therefore Virginia would be expected to have a higher percentage of people tested.

What will be more telling is if, moving forward, that percentage increases or decreases as Virginia continues to expand its testing capabilities.

Here’s a look at Virginia’s testing over time:

About the Author:

Jeff Williamson arrived at WSLS 10 in March 2016.