Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Vice President Mike Pence praised and thanked Mayo Clinic staff for their efforts in battling the coronavirus pandemic.

Pence closed out a roundtable discussion with Governor Tim Walz, Congressman Jim Hagedorn, Mayo Clinic leaders, researchers, and other staff members by expressing thanks on behalf of President Trump and a grateful nation. He seemed especially moved by the statements of a Mayo Clinic nurse working in a COVID-19 unit. Pence noted the patients are separated from their families and recognized the extra burden that places on nurses who face not only caring for their patient’s medical needs but also providing some of the comfort normally provided by family members.

Watch Vice President Pence and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz arrive at Mayo Clinic on Tuesday, April 28:

The roundtable discussion followed the Vice President's visits to Mayo Clinic research and testing facilities in downtown Rochester this afternoon.  The stop in Rochester was scheduled after Governor Walz, the Mayo Clinic, and the University of Minnesota last week announced a strategic partnership to greatly expand testing for COVID-19 with a goal of having the ability and capacity to perform 20,000 tests per day in a matter of weeks. Pence was told today that Mayo has already performed 150,000 coronavirus tests since the beginning of the pandemic.

During the roundtable discussion, the vice president seemed somewhat astounded when he was told that 90-percent of the coronavirus patients being treated at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester are enrolled in one of the clinical trials underway to find treatments for the new viral illness. Mayo researchers informed Pence that they are confident that several of the therapies being tested are having an impact. They also cautioned that they need to wait to analyze all of the data from the clinical trials before reaching any conclusions and that it would be later this year before any of the potential treatments could be approved for wider use.

Listen to the entire discussion below (audio feed starts at about 49 minutes)

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