Dr. Deborah Brix, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, said the number of people testing positive is "increasing" at Thursday's pandemic task force press conference:
DR. DEBORA BRIX, TASK FORCE COORDINATOR: I know you're watching the data carefully. You can see the dramatic increases in the number of new cases, based on our ability to test additional people. And this will continue over the next two to three days as we begin to have backlogs reduced of the testing. You all have heard the anecdotes of people waiting five or six days for their test results. We are moving through all of that as well as testing individuals.
I really want to applaud the frontline healthcare workers -- the nurses and the doctors and the testers -- that have really prioritized -- and the American people -- who have prioritized those with symptoms.
The number of test positives is increasing. That is a dramatically important signature that everybody is doing their job. Those with mild symptoms are staying home, self-isolating; those with serious symptoms are coming forward to getting testing. Our test positive rates are now in the 10 to 11 percent range. That still means that 90 percent of the illnesses out there, even the severe ones, are not COVID-19.
I know many of you are looking at the state-level data. Still, over 50 percent of the cases come from three states. This is why we continue to prioritize testing in those states. In addition, 50 percent of the cases come from 10 counties. We are a very large country with very many counties. And I just want to applaud the local and state governments that are implementing their emergency operation centers and plans to ensure.
I want to also really thank the healthcare workers that have been asked to reduce all elective surgeries, medical and dental visits. This will dramatically increase the number of ventilators that are available in hospitals, but also in ambulatory surgical centers that can be converted and utilized.
And also, the -- to the construction industry: We are deeply grateful, the number -- as the Vice President said, the number of individuals have come forward with their construction masks, their booties, their tieback suits, and their masks to contribute them to the healthcare sector.
The President's request to make this available in that legislation changes the ability and increases our availability immediately by the 75 to 90 percent range because of the amount of construction use of those elements. Thank you.