“I can tell you Danbury Hospital is already at capacity, and they have 200 nurses who are on furlough because they were in contact [with someone who tested positive for COVID-19],” Lamont told host Chris Hayes.
“If I could test those nurses, I could potentially get them back into the game a lot sooner,” he said.
Hayes had asked Lamont earlier what resources the state — which has 26 reported cases — would need to alleviate pressure on its hospital emergency rooms and intensive care units. The news anchor appeared stunned by the governor’s response.
“Wait a second,” Hayes said. “You’ve got 200 nurses sitting on the sidelines right now who can’t get back to work because they can’t be tested to confirm whether or not they have the virus?”
“Exactly,” Lamont said. “We got a surge in use, demand is going up and I’m losing nurses by the day who have to furlough themselves for a period of time.”
“That’s a priority for testing for me,” he added. “Our testing capacity is going up, but it’s going up very incrementally and that’s dangerous.”
Hospital representatives did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment. The 371-bed hospital did appear to reassure people on Twitter, however:
President Donald Trump’s administration has been widely criticized for its response to the pandemic. But Trump on Friday declined to be held accountable for testing shortages.
“I don’t take responsibility at all,” he said.
Check out the interview above.