Slow start for rapid coronavirus tests frustrates states

“It’s incredibly frustrating,” said New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, whose state got 15 of Abbott Laboratories ’ testing machines for Covid-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus—and cartridges to conduct only about 100 tests. Mr. Sununu, speaking at a news conference, said most of the machines would sit idle until he could figure out how to get more of the cartridges, one of which is needed to complete each test.

“There was a lot of hype on this nationally,” the Republican said. “To have 13 of these devices and no way to use them—I’m banging my head against the wall.”…

In Illinois, where Abbott Laboratories is based, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he spoke to the company more than a week ago and thought he had an agreement to conduct 88,000 tests a month, or about 3,000 tests a day. He subsequently learned that the federal government was taking over purchasing and distribution of the tests.

Instead, Illinois received 15 Abbott machines and 120 cartridges. “That’s eight tests per machine for all of Illinois,” Mr. Pritzker, a Democrat, said.

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