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Doctors at Portland clinic frustrated by the lack of available tests for coronavirus

"I feel there's a lot more cases out there we don't know about and people are getting exposed," said Dr. Monique Pritchard.

PORTLAND, Ore. — At Sellwood Medical Clinic in Southeast Portland, signs are posted asking anyone who may have been exposed to the coronavirus to not come in. 

Staff wipe down and disinfect the waiting area every hour and doctors and nurses are wearing face masks to limit the spread of the virus.

It's one of the few things they can do.

"We as physicians have been pretty frustrated because we're seeing patients who we're very concerned have coronavirus that we have been unable to test," says Dr. Monique Pritchard.

She says when a patient comes in with symptoms of the coronavirus, they've asked the Oregon Health Authority to have them tested, but they've been denied.


"So we're very concerned. We want to make sure we're keeping our patients safe and the public safe," Pritchard said.

She worries that without the availability of the tests, patients are going home and possibly exposing others without the proper quarantine and treatment.

"We just want to take care of everyone, make the diagnosis and limit exposure in the community, because I feel there's a lot more cases out there we don't know about and people are getting exposed."

RELATED: Timeline: Coronavirus in Oregon, Washington

NBC News reports, after a weeks long delay, thousands of coronavirus test kits are headed to state and local laboratories, Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday.

But questions remain about when those promised test kits will arrive and how well they will work.

"We have more than 2,500 kits that are being distributed around the country this week that will make more than 1.5 million tests available at hospitals that have requested them, and in areas of the country that have been particularly impacted by the coronavirus," Pence said during a meeting Wednesday with diagnostic lab CEOs.

Back at Sellwood Medical Clinic, Pritchard welcomes the extra tests being made, but would like them sooner rather than later.

"It's great, we want more tests. We want to be able to test people, but we're still not getting the test and we're kind of getting a bit of a runaround as to who is even responsible for the test at this point," Pritchard said.

Pritchard said her main focus is protecting not only her patients, but everyone else that might come in contact with a person infected with coronavirus.

RELATED: Real-time updates: 10 deaths, 29 cases of coronavirus in Washington state