California Aims To Gain Control Of Testing Delays As New Coronavirus Cases Hit Record 10K Daily

Medical staff at a pop-up COVID-19 testing clinic, perform tests on drivers on July 11, 2020 in the Sydney suburb of Casula, Australia.
Photo credit David Gray/Getty Images

It’s taking longer to get tested for the coronavirus in California.

The state is rolling out a new approach with testing guidelines and fresh faces to lead the effort to expand testing, especially for vulnerable populations.

Samples from people experiencing symptoms will now be prioritized, even as 100,000 tests are being performed in California. Dr. Bechara Coucair, Chief Medical Officer of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, was just named co-chair of the state’s Coronavirus Testing Task Force.

"So, the cornerstone of our work going forward must be ensuring that testing is available, testing is affordable, testing is equitable and is reliable for Californians," Dr. Coucair said.

CA’s updated #coronavirus testing guidelines establish 4 tiers to triage who should be prioritized for testing:Tier 1: Hospitalized, w/COVID19 symptoms; their close contacts; outbreaksTier 2: Anyone else w/symptoms; asymptomatic but at higher riskTiers 3 & 4, see attached.

— SovernNation (@SovernNation) July 15, 2020

Sacramento is promising to expand testing in the hard-hit Black and Latinx communities. However, test kits are becoming harder to find as testing rapidly expands nationwide.

In San Francisco, for example, there’s a wait of 10 to 12 days for appointments at some of the free city testing centers.

"While we have learned a ton about COVID-19 and we’ve made a lot of progress, our recent surge in cases makes it clear that a lot more must be done to protect our communities," Dr. Coucair added.

In yet another ominous sign the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is accelerating, California’s daily case count hit over 10,000 for the first time, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Los Angeles had a record high number of cases and the Bay Area number also continue to spike. 

In the Bay Area, the death toll continues to go up.

There were additional COVID-19 deaths in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties Tuesday. Statewide, there are now over 346,000 cases of the coronavirus and over 7,000 deaths.