California Coronavirus Update: Governor Gavin Newsom Announces Massive 150% Increase In COVID Testing, Foresees Possibility Of Reopening Schools, Businesses

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced what he called “a new partnership” in coronavirus testing. He said he was taking the action in anticipation of the stress the flu season will put on the testing system.

“We have averaged roughly 100,000 tests in the state,” said Newsom. Average turnaround time for results is “anywhere from 5 up to 7 days after the test.” Newsom acknowledged that

Developing a partnership with PerkinElmer to “build out a new Laboratory in California with full supply chain.” Newsom said the deal will provide much more reliability ad stability.

The idea is “to bring down costs for everybody…to get back tests in a timely manner,” said the governor.

“This is exactly what the federal government should be doing,” said the governor in order to “drive down costs across the spectrum,” from Medicaid to MediCare to private insurance and labs.

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Currently, coronavirus tests cost $150-$250. The state has conducted 10.8 million of them. “You can do the math,” he said.

Will provide an additional 150,000 tests a day. “This is additive,” he said, with respect to the current daily total.

“We are demanding tests back in 24 hours, at most 48 hours.”

That speed will help the state make decisions about the possibilities of reopening schools and reopening businesses. State Senator Richard Pan, chair of the Senate Health Committee, said the testing was needed in order to do effective contact tracing and prevent further outbreaks.

New tests will range from $47.99 to $30.78, depending on the volume of tests. That’s at least 1/3 of the current low of $150.

Newsom said the state had “kicked the proverbial tire” in terms of other providers, but landed on PerkinElmer because they could make guarantees about production.

Within the next 8-10 weeks we should see the fruits of this labor as we build out this lab space,” said Newsom.

On Tuesday, the Department of Public Health issued a press release and began rolling out new guidance for in-person child supervision and limited instruction, targeted support services, and facilitation of distance learning in small group environments. The guidance is meant to help those programs to understand the required health and safety practices needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their settings.

Much of what’s new centers around learning “cohorts,” which are described as “a stable group of no more than 14 children or youth and no more than two supervising adults in a supervised environment in which supervising adults and children stay together for all activities — e.g., meals, recreation, etc. — and avoid contact with people outside of their group in the setting.” The guidance recommends groups smaller than 14 whenever possible.

The governor said his full set of revised guidelines would be announced on Friday.

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