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Trump says expansion of testing to target vulnerable communities

The White House coronavirus task force coordinator told governors to focus over the next two weeks on testing all 1 million nursing home residents.

WASHINGTON — The White House is recommending that all nursing home residents and staff be tested for the new coronavirus in the next two weeks.

During a press event at the White House Monday afternoon, President Trump announced new efforts to expand testing throughout the U.S. along with expanding testing capabilities. During the press conference, the president said efforts are being made to expand testing in "communities with unique vulnerabilities," remarking on the need to testing in under-served communities as well. 

When asked by a reporter if the White House feels the country is ready to go back to work with the current testing capacity, President Trump said that his administration is leaving it "up to the governors." 

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Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the White House coronavirus task force, told governors on a video conference call Monday that it’s the federal government’s strong recommendation that such testing be done.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the task force coordinator, told governors to focus over the next two weeks on testing all 1 million nursing home residents. She says the White House will help states that need it.

President Donald Trump and administration officials are scheduled to hold a press briefing Monday afternoon at 4 p.m. Eastern to discuss testing. 

Nursing homes and the elderly have been shown to be especially susceptible to the virus.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems -- including children -- it can cause more severe illness and death.

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The Associated Press obtained a recording of the meeting.

Credit: AP
In this Friday, April 17, 2020, photo, a vial used to collect a nose swab sample is put into a collection bag as medical providers conduct coronavirus testing at Queen Anne Healthcare, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility in Seattle.