CSAC Bulletin Article

Testing Task Force Hosts Second Webinar

April 30, 2020

The California Testing Task Force hosted a second webinar for local elected officials, local public health directors and officers, and local emergency managers to discuss the rapid increase in COVID-19 testing capacity and areas that they will continue working on.

The Testing Task Force identified their key goals as increasing the total number of tests per day, providing results within 24-hour results, a testing accuracy of at least 90% testing, and equitable and convenient testing access. The webinar featured presentations from the co-chairs Dr. Charity Dean, Assistant Director of the California Department of Public Health; Paul Markovich, President and CEO of Blue Shield of California; and a Task Force member Dr. Christina Kong, Vice Chair and Medical Director of Pathology& Clinical Lab, Stanford University.

The ability to increase COVID-19 testing in the state is of the highest importance to the Task Force and has a direct impact to the state’s ability to loosen current orders. The presenters outlined California’s aggressive goal of 25,000 molecular diagnostic or PCR tests per day by the end of April. In less than a month the state has increased testing capacity from 2,000 PCR tests per day to its current level of on average16,000 PCR tests per day. The Task Force reported the current statewide laboratory inventory shows California has the capacity to reach the 60,000 PCR tests per day goal. In addition to the PCR tests the members of the Task Force are reviewing new serological tests that enter the market as well as alternate methods of testing.

In order to increase the daily testing capacity the Task Force reported more than 80 additional sites will be added to the current 270 testing collection sites throughout the state. The Task Force has begun developing criteria for where those sites will be placed. The statewide goal is for a testing site within a 30 minute driving time in urban areas and within a 60 minute driving time in rural areas. The estimated timeline for these sites to be up and running is May 4.

As California continues to order the supplies necessary to rapidly increase testing capacity the Task Force confidently reported that the lack of swabs should not be an issue due to the 10 million swabs being provided to the state in upcoming weeks. The Testing Task Force is working to develop a robust tracking system that will be available to the public. As the Task Force works to make progress on their stated goals, information will be released regularly. CSAC will closely monitor for any additional relevant testing information. The Task Force has provided the full presentation.

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