State Senate President Pro Tem Sen. Phil Berger is normally one of the most, if not the most, powerful elected official in the state.

During the COVID-19 emergency, however, the legislative and judicial branches of the government have taken a back seat, and unquestionably the driver is the executive branch led by Gov. Roy Cooper, who has been issuing ever-more stringent executive orders in an attempt to lessen the effect of the COVID-19 on the health of the residents of the state.

The legislature is not in session, but that doesn’t mean legislative leaders are not active. Berger sent out a press releases on March 25 and March 31 calling for “random sample testing” to find out how prevalent COVID-19 is in the state.

Last week on “Front Row with Marc Rotterman” on UNC-TV, Berger went into more detail about the need for random sample testing.

Berger said, “I’d like to see us due random sample testing because the data that we have is in my view, and in the view of numerous epidemiologists and statisticians and other experts around the county, is not the kid of data that we can consider reliable for the decisions that are being made.”

Berger said, “Presently, we are making decisions or we are seeing decisions made that are shutting down our economy and those decisions are in a large measure being made based on a sample of just people who have symptoms and in many cases just people who have the most severe symptoms.”

Berger said that random sample testing would give a much better idea of just how prevalent COVID-19 was in the state and that that kind of data was needed to make decisions going forward.

Berger said that Cooper had the authority to make decisions in emergency situations like the COVID-19 pandemic and he said that he had been speaking with the governor on a regular basis.

He said, “We have seen a good bit of bipartisanship on this issue.”

The entire interview can be viewed here