VP Mike Pence to visit Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota next week

US President Donald Trump listens to US Vice President Mike Pence speak during the the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on April 22, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by MANDE

Vice President Mike Pence will visit Mayo Clinic's facilities in Rochester next week, marking his second trip to Minnesota in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

Pence's trip is scheduled for Tuesday. He'll tour Mayo Clinic's research and treatment facilities and talk with workers, according to a White House statement sent Wednesday evening.

Pence's most recent trip to Minnesota came March 5, when he toured 3M in Maplewood to discuss increased production of N95 respirator masks for health care workers. 

While in the Twin Cities that day, Pence foreshadowed problems to come with the lack of testing. The issue has plagued Minnesota and other states from the outset.

“We don’t have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward," Pence said, promising more testing in "a matter of weeks."

On Wednesday, Gov. Tim Walz announced a deal with the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic so that all Minnesotans with virus symptoms could be tested. 

The governor promised the move would lead to 20,000 Minnesotans getting tested every day. Walz wouldn't give a timeline, but his health commissioner said the goal would be achieved within "a few weeks."

As of Wednesday, 179 Minnesotans had died from the coronavirus. More than 70 percent were residents of long-term care facilities.