Baker blames supply chain for testing gap
Says self-administered swab should help boost numbers
MASSACHUSETTS IS NOT testing as many people for COVID-19 as it could because of limitations on gathering specimens and delivering them to testing labs, according to Gov. Charlie Baker.
Baker, eager to ramp up testing, has said the state has the capacity to do 30,000 tests a day but typically does less than half that. “The issues around specimen collection and transport create the distance and difference between those two,” Baker said Thursday in an interview on WGBH radio with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan.
Right now, most testing for COVID-19 requires someone to insert a 6-inch-long swab up a patient’s nose into a space between the nose and mouth for 15 seconds and rotating the swab a few times. This collection, called a nasopharyngeal swab, is done in both nostrils, then inserted into a container and sent to a lab for testing.
CVS is now doing patient self-administered tests at some of its stores using a new, shorter swab that needs to only be inserted into the nostril. Baker said he expects that approach to accelerate this summer, which should increase specimen collection.
“It can’t be like that moving forward,” he said.