A significant increase in the testing capacity of California in recent weeks caused the surge in number of COVID-19 diagnostic test results to a total of 1,696,396 statewide, an increase of 52,294 tests since Sunday May 24, 2020 or a 3.2% increase.
This was the latest figure given by California Governor Gavin Newsom in his statement May 26, 2020 since daily testing has averaged more than 35,000 in the past few days. By contrast, there were only 11,000 tests conducted in March 20, 2020 when the pandemic was in its earlier stage.
“Ramping up our testing capacity is critical as we begin modifying our stay at home order,” announced Governor Newsom. “In addition to standing up more than 80 new testing sites across the state in under-served communities, soon Californians will be able to get tested when they pick up their prescriptions at some pharmacies across the state.”
In the state’s gradual efforts to modify the stay at home order, as laid out in the Resilience Roadmap, the state ensures that it has sufficient capacity to test for COVID-19 and ability to conduct contact tracing when outbreaks surface are key indicators
Increasing testing is one of the six critical indicators guiding California’s Resilience Roadmap. California’s six indicators for modifying the stay-at-home order are:
- The ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating, and supporting those who are positive or exposed;
- The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19;
- The ability of the hospital and health systems to handle surges;
- The ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand;
- The ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing; and
- The ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders, if necessary.
The governor also stated that that pharmacists will now be allowed by the California Department of Consumer Affairs and State Board of Pharmacy to collect specimens for COVID-19 tests and order tests for consumers and that the specimens will be delivered to and processed at public health, university or commercial labs.
Also, Medi-Cal patients without a health plan (fee for service) and uninsured Californians can heave a sigh of relief as a new “Medi-Nurse” line was made available by the state for them simply by dialing 1-877-409-9052 which is available 24/7 for COVID-19 concerns or for general medical issues.
Those who have health insurance may visit covid19.ca.gov and use the telehealth zip code finder to access their health insurance plan’s telehealth and nurse help lines.