California could start testing thousands of people for COVID-19 as early as next week | News | Palo Alto Online |

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California could start testing thousands of people for COVID-19 as early as next week

Santa Clara County's lab only received about 150 test kits from the federal government. New sources will help expand testing to help determine the spread of the disease.

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A patient comes in for a screening at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View on March 3, 2020. Photo by Sammy Dallal.

California could have thousands of more test kits and multiple new laboratories up and running to detect the virus associated with the COVID-19 infection as soon as next week, Gov. Gavin Newson said during a Thursday press conference.

The state has 8,227 test kits from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, but it can only use a fraction of them because most are missing a compound and chemicals needed to complete the tests, he said. California isn't alone. Other states have the same issue.

"I am surprised that this is not more of a national conversation," Newsom said. "It's like going to the store to purchase a printer but forgetting to purchase the ink."

The state is now transferring the missing components to the state's 18 laboratories that do the testing. Some labs have the kits but cannot use them until they receive the compounds, he said.

Newsom said the state is about to ramp up additional testing capacity through various other sources. San Juan Capistrano-based commercial lab Quest Diagnostics has been conducting 1,200 tests a day for the past two days and the state expects Quest will open two new labs by the end of the month. By that time, he expects that Quest labs will have the capacity to run 5,000 tests per day, he said.

Only 48 hours ago, Santa Clara County officials said their county laboratory could only process 30 to 40 tests per day and Stanford University's laboratory, which has a new FDA-approved test, could only run 80 to 100 tests per day.

That news prompted members of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors to direct county Public Health Department staff to come up with hard numbers on the number of tests that have been conducted and to formulate a plan for how they would get more tests. The supervisors also want to know when it is likely that testing will go from only suspected acute cases to "surveillance" testing of large groups of people. The county needs to understand the magnitude of the disease's spread and to identify people who are asymptomatic but who are walking around exposing the community, the supervisors said on Tuesday.

Newsom said the state is looking to centralize testing locations and would be meeting late on Thursday to consider locations for multiple sites throughout California. The additional laboratories would increase testing capacity. He hoped the facilities would be up and running by next week.

"We're working overtime to secure the resources," he said.

California also has four in-state laboratories at hospitals: Stanford University Medical Center, UCLA, UC San Diego and The City of Hope in Los Angeles.

"Those four hospitals are providing tests in addition to Quest and in addition to the 18 state labs. We expect that as early as next week Kaiser will start testing and we're working with UC Davis and UC Irvine to complement those efforts, so we'll go from four to seven hospital sites as early as next week," he said.

The state is also partnering with out-of-state commercial testing facilities to ramp up capacity, he said.

Quest Diagnostics said in a statement that it introduced its new COVID-19 lab test on March 9, Providers anywhere in the U.S. can order the new test service. The Quest Diagnostics' SARS-CoV-2 RNA, Qualitative Real-Time RT-PCR test is performed on respiratory specimens collected by healthcare providers and forwarded to Quest's lab. The test is currently being used for patients meeting the CDC's criteria for COVID-19 testing. 

"We are also scaling capacity now with the aim to validate and perform testing at other Quest Diagnostics high-complexity laboratories serving the United States. We expect to be able to perform tens of thousands of tests a week within the next six weeks," the company said.

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Comments

22 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 13, 2020 at 9:50 am

Defective testing kits from the CDC are a nationwide tragedy. This has allowed the virus to spread much more quickly and delayed the Federal government's response to the health crisis.


7 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 13, 2020 at 11:10 am

I don't think this testing information is correct.
I just heard that the protocol for testing is to have two tests to verify if someone is over the virus before they are safe to go out in the public.
So far CA has just 8000 test kits.
[Post removed.]


10 people like this
Posted by Testing
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 13, 2020 at 11:25 am

CrescentParkAnon, I heard that Stanford will probably be able to test up to 1000 people a day starting some time next week, with fast turnaround, using their newly-approved test. Even now they are able to test a few hundred per day. One thing to keep in mind is there is no great treatment yet. So the testing is just part of the picture.


22 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:43 pm

I'm reading that some Asian countries are offering free drive-through 10 minute COVID-19 tests. Infection rates are actually going down in those countries. Why can't America get its act together?


13 people like this
Posted by Duveneck annon
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:57 pm

The issue is that CDC still controls who gets to be tested and currently it offers no recourse for those who have symptoms (though community transition) but don’t know anyone who has tested positive. So the infected people with mild symptoms will go on with their daily lives, spreading it. There was a story on CNN just about that. CDC guidelines for testing is a joke. I guess we are afraid. to know how many people are actually infected. We are giving the 3rd world countries a run for their money.


40 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 13, 2020 at 1:23 pm

A couple of weeks ago, Donald Trump said that COVID-19 was a hoax. Today he says it is a national emergency. Maybe now the Feds will actually start working on it.


8 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of another community
on Mar 13, 2020 at 2:47 pm

Can we begin a healthcare worker surveillance program ASAP I need confidence in our community ability to care for the in patient population.


8 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 13, 2020 at 2:55 pm

Testing a resident of College Terrace

Thanks for that information. I did hear the President today say that millions of test kits will be available in a week or so. That's nice to hear, but it days ago President Trump said anyone could be tested with beautiful test kits today, tomorrow and yesterday. Today he actually had some reputable backup, so let's hope for the best.

There is a KQED CoronaVirus info page here: Web Link

This page seems to have compiled as much information as they can find in one place.

The have the story of Carl Goldman who contracted the virus just as he left the Diamond Princess cruise liner and has been testing positive for the last 34 days. I think we are going to need some answers to how long people are contagious in addition to a lot of test kits.

Have heard nothing yet as to the false positive or false negative rate of these tests.


9 people like this
Posted by Rob
a resident of Woodside
on Mar 13, 2020 at 4:28 pm

[Post removed.]


14 people like this
Posted by q infected or not
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 13, 2020 at 6:57 pm

After 7 days of respiratory symptoms, persistent cough, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue, chest pain, I still cannot get tested. Doctor's office asks me 3/12 if I've traveled to an international country or been with a known coronavirus patient. The standard 2 question that were probably relevant a month ago, but now that 55+ Santa Clara patients have it (half of whom are hospitalized so only the most severe are tested), these questions are dumb! we need a drive-thru testing program ASAP. I suspect many people in the community have it without any confirmation.


41 people like this
Posted by Trump fired the Pandemic Team
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 13, 2020 at 9:49 pm

Trump told us 2 weeks ago that there were a million tests available. For the last week, South Korea has been testing 10,000 people a day.

America has tested less than 20,000 total.

Trump also is the guy who fired the head of the pandemic team at the national security council, 3 years ago.

We need a leader, not a liar.


10 people like this
Posted by James
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 13, 2020 at 10:56 pm

CDC get your act together!! There should be no questions other than are you showing these symptoms: do you have a fever? and do you feel sick? any trouble breathing? If you have any of these then just get tested for piece of mind and to do a favor to others in not spreading it. This is the only way we are going to get a handle on this. This is no time to not take the initiative CDC! This is what you guys do for a career so do it to the best of your ability and stop the spread of this virus once and for all.


8 people like this
Posted by Joshyoh
a resident of another community
on Mar 14, 2020 at 7:57 am

There were pandemic going on outside US and people are dying in a massive rate starting 2 months ago, I don’t quite understand how our intelligent system operates, weren’t they gather information? Do they report to the president? Or maybe he just doesn’t care? Look at what other Asian countries are doing, Taiwan even has the testing kits can tell if you are positive in 15 minutes. Stop wasting time and lives only if you can massively filter out who has it and who doesn’t in a prompt fashion that you can give people proper medical care. I saw a video on C-Span our representative Katie Porter saying if you don’t have insurance the out of pocket cost will run you $1331 now! And about 40% of or population has no insurance... What a joke! Wake up people in CDC and in this administrate, we are facing a enemy that would wipe us out and probably won’t go away any time soon if you let it!


20 people like this
Posted by Trump fired the Pandemic Team
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 14, 2020 at 8:08 am

The rest of the world uses world health organization issued tests. Trump decided to bet all our money on CDC test, and failed again.

Trump and pence should have used BOTH. What a huge mistake.

We would be in far better shape if Trump had not fired the pandemic team 3 years ago.


23 people like this
Posted by Reality bites.
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 14, 2020 at 9:09 am

The WHO offered the US millions of tests back in January, and our great leader said no.

Is anyone surprised?

The same idiot-in-chief that has shaken hands with someone that tested positive and refuses to get personally tested.


17 people like this
Posted by Trump fired the Pandemic Team
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 14, 2020 at 9:17 am

> The same idiot-in-chief that has shaken hands with someone that tested positive and refuses to get personally tested.

Who believes him when the admitted germ-o-phobe claims he wasn't tested? Just another lie.


18 people like this
Posted by Sdirksen
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 14, 2020 at 10:57 am

This is an informative blog if we keep to science, vivid-19 and its spread and testing. The political hand grenades can be saved for November.


6 people like this
Posted by Frank
a resident of another community
on Mar 14, 2020 at 11:23 am

As of Friday the 13th, The State of New York already has drive through testing and will test up to 10K a day by mid next week. Paid for by the State. They coordinated with BioRefence Labs which is in all 50 states. They have three labs in Marin Co. alone. What is the delay in California? It is criminal if this stalling is only about payment.


24 people like this
Posted by Meritocracy Mike
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Mar 14, 2020 at 1:55 pm

"political hand grenades"

Political acts that are leadership failures in times of crisis are supremely relevant.

If your favored ox is failing America, he must be identified and yes, your ox deserves to be 'gored'.

Trump turned down WHO tests and got rid of pandemic expertise on the NSC.

Absolutely pure, abject failures. No time to hide them just to give Donald a participation trophy.

And get your science from the CDC, not an online, anonymous forum.

We are all sorry this is Trump's "bin laden determined to strike in the US" moment. Failures must be identified to correct on the fly and prevent failures in the future.


13 people like this
Posted by Bikermom
a resident of Mayfield
on Mar 14, 2020 at 3:52 pm

[Post removed.]


7 people like this
Posted by Andy
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 15, 2020 at 9:00 am

As another has pointed out, laying blame is not the solution. If a robber shoots me in the street, I know who is to blame, but I need a doctor now and a cop later.

The issue with the testing kits is, in part, that they give peace of mind but relatively little actionable intelligence. If I were to test positive with mild symptoms, I would be told to self quarantine, which is not very different from what most of us are doing now.


12 people like this
Posted by Trump fired the Pandemic Team
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 15, 2020 at 9:29 am

> but I need a doctor now and a cop later.

Selfish opinion. In your little mythical world, you need a doctor but are ignoring the rest of the community by letting this criminal roam the streets until you decide it's time to go after him/her.

It's selfish faux-conservative attitudes that seem to think it was okay for Trump to fire the Pandemic Team and make a disastrous decision to not accept millions of test kits from the WHO in January.


> that they give peace of mind but relatively little actionable intelligence.

Completely and utterly wrong. Sentinel data, data telling where we need resources, actionable measurements, and many,many more reasons to test.

Not a *single* expert in epidemiology would agree with you. Turn off Fox. Listen to the WHO and CDC, not idiots like Limbaugh (who, oddly, is at extreme risk.)

However, Trump and Pence may want to hire you, so there's that, I suppose.


8 people like this
Posted by Quinn
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 15, 2020 at 12:52 pm

Number of confirmed cases in US up 50% since yesterday morning.

Web Link

Maybe it will Dissappear like Trump says. He really gets this stuff.


1 person likes this
Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 16, 2020 at 12:07 pm

Believe Kaiser has drive through testing for Coronavirus


1 person likes this
Posted by Maria aguirre
a resident of Ventura
on Mar 25, 2020 at 11:05 am

Thats all lies they have I don’t know how many labs thats not true that’s why we all going to be sick because the y take to long to give the results and yes we can get lockdown but before that how many people we interact how many hands we shake and we can’t lockdown anybody if we are not sure about


2 people like this
Posted by Andy
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 29, 2020 at 11:24 am

>> but I need a doctor now and a cop later.

> Selfish opinion. In your little mythical world, you need a doctor but are ignoring the rest of the community by letting this criminal roam the streets until you decide it's time to go after him/her.

> It's selfish faux-conservative attitudes that seem to think it was okay for Trump to fire the Pandemic Team and make a disastrous decision to not accept millions of test kits from the WHO in January.

Wow, I've been called many things in my life, but "conservative". faux-or-not, is not one of them. No one who has seen my posts online posts would ever consider me a Trump supporter. He is an unqualified disaster IMHO.

That's doesn't change my point, which is that unlike the hypothetical robber you accuse me of "letting go" so that I can selfishly get help sooner, this dangerous person is not hard to find. I could even tell the cops his home address. However, constitutionally, he is not really stoppable until November at the earliest. We are in an unusual situation where every day's delay means actual death, and I would rather concentrate on the solutions than the blame.

Look at Fauci at Trump's press conferences. The guy walks a tightrope so that Trump doesn't fire him, just so that he can get up to the mic and give the public real information from the President's pulpit. If he told the truth about Trump, he would be quickly replaced by Dr. Pence or Dr. Jared.


6 people like this
Posted by Trump fired the Pandemic Team
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 29, 2020 at 11:37 am

> The guy walks a tightrope so that Trump doesn't fire him, just so that he can get up to the mic and give the public real information from the President's pulpit. If he told the truth about Trump, he would be quickly replaced by Dr. Pence or Dr. Jared.

Why do the networks give Trump time to spread his lies and conspiracy theories?

They could just replay Dr. Fauci and be a great help to the nation.

---

Jan. 22, Trump in Davos with CNBC’s Joe Kernen: “Are there worries about a pandemic at this point?”

Our impeached potus: “No. Not at all. And we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”


(insert Animal House "Remain Calm" meme here)


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