This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.
Some communities in the Mountain West are again facing testing delays and shortages as the number of COVID-19 cases reach record highs across the country.
Part of the problem, according to Christine Porter, a public health professor at the University of Wyoming, is that the federal government has been slow to approve new laboratories to expand testing.
"We have the labs and the capacity and have been trying to get the supplies, but we can't do it until we have federal certification," Porter said of a lab awaiting approval on her campus. "I understand they need to be careful and cautious but this is an emergency."
In Colorado, public health officials began capping the number of tests given at Denver’s Pepsi Center.
In Idaho, a hospital system asked people with no symptoms or mild symptoms to skip the test, citing delays due to testing capacities. This comes as confirmed cases of COVID-19 surge and the death toll begins to rise for the first time in three months.
An analysis from The New York Times shows that almost all states in the region are below testing targets.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.