U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said during a visit to Charlotte on Thursday that he and local leaders, including Atrium Health CEO Gene Woods and North Carolina Republican Congressman Richard Hudson, had discussed the Republican National Convention and ways federal and local officials could work together to obtain “extra surge supplies” of materials needed to perform coronavirus diagnostic tests, like swabs and substances called reagents.
“With a gathering like [the RNC], part of the protocols might involve large-scale testing," Azar said. "And how can we work together to support with any extra surge supplies as well as testing capacity around that.”
But North Carolina’s Secretary of Health and Human Services Mandy Cohen told WFAE on Thursday that hosting mass gatherings like the Republican National Convention will be a “very big challenge” if the state’s coronavirus cases continue to increase.
Azar’s visit, which also included a visit to a coronavirus testing site at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, came as North Carolina prepares to move into a modified Phase 2 of its reopening plan Friday at 5 p.m.
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