In addition to the massive shortages of Personal Protective Gear to protect front-line medical workers, there is also a shortage of the nasal swabs necessary to perform the tests.
"At the UCSF Health — a San Francisco hospital system at the heart of one of the nation’s coronavirus outbreaks — officials said they would have to stop testing patients in about five days because they will run out of nasopharyngeal swabs, which are inserted into patients’ nasal passages to get samples for testing," The New York Times reported Friday.
"Other hospitals elsewhere in the country were ending their practice of using a second swab to test for the flu in an effort to preserve their supply," the newspaper noted.
It may not be easy to quickly end the shortage.
"The main manufacturer of the swabs, Copan, is an Italian company whose manufacturing plant is in Northern Italy, a region that has itself been hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak. It says it has ramped up manufacturing to deal with the extraordinary demand for an otherwise unassuming product to which many doctors gave little thought, until now," the newspaper explained.
Watch Albuquerque's KOB-TV explain how the procedure works: