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Coronavirus Testing Has Improved In San Diego But Still Not Where Officials Want It To Be

Coronavirus testing at the San Diego county lab, Feb. 28, 2020.

Photo by Matt Hoffman

Above: Coronavirus testing at the San Diego county lab, Feb. 28, 2020.

The number of Californians getting tested for the coronavirus continues to climb, however, the state’s ability to test those with symptoms is still running to catch up to the demand.

The latest state numbers show more than 157,000 people have been tested for the coronavirus in California.

Universities, hospitals and public and private labs around the state are all processing COVID 19 tests of some kind.

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California Governor Gavin Newsom is pleased there is more testing around the state, but the current number of tests being processed is still short of where he wants it to be.

Reported by John Carroll , Video by Amal Younis

“It won’t be a couple of days when we will be getting to 25-thousand tests on a daily basis. It will be over the course of the next few weeks,” Newsom said.

San Diego County medical officials are ramping up their ability to test people for the disease, and they say checking 1,000 tests a day should soon be a reality.

UC San Diego infectious disease specialist David Pride — Speaking on KPBS MidDay Edition — said the university’s local lab is now processing several different kinds of approved tests.

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“This is something that most laboratories, including ours, wouldn’t do in normal times,” Pride said. “But we’ve got such large patient demand for testing that we felt like if we diversified early then we would be able to manage to obtain the materials that we needed to meet our patients demand.”

UCSD researchers are also close to rolling out a test that can deliver a positive reading in just five minutes, and a definitive negative determination in 15 minutes, according to Pride.

And Pride is encouraged by what medical officials are finding

“We were expecting maybe demand to be a little bit greater than it is right now,” Pride said. “But the social distancing has had such a great impact that we’re not necessarily on the same trajectory.”

UC San Diego has been processing between 100 and 200 tests a day for the last couple of weeks.

That could go up dramatically when the new fast test is added to the testing arsenal.

Listen to this story by Erik Anderson.

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Photo of Erik Anderson

Erik Anderson
Environment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI focus on the environment and all the implications that a changing or challenging environment has for life in Southern California. That includes climate change, endangered species, habitat, urbanization, pollution and many other topics.

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