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Rady Children’s, SD County Team Up To Expand COVID-19 Testing For Children, Caregivers

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.

San Diego county officials announced Wednesday that they have partnered with Rady Children’s Hospital to expand COVID-19 testing to the region's children and their caregivers. Rady Children’s Hospital will test up to 2,000 children and their families daily for COVID-19 over the next six months.

The partnership is part of the county’s efforts to ramp up testing as San Diego businesses and outdoor areas continue to open up. Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said there is not as much data on how COVID-19 manifests in children as with adults.

The partnership will help the county collect data on more children and adults, especially those who may not be showing symptoms.

Video by Roland Lizarondo

“The prevalence of asymptomatic COVID-19 infection and the duration of presymptomatic infection in children are not well understood as asymptomatic individuals are not routinely tested. And that’s one thing we will see that is different with this partnership,” Wooten said.

“So we test the child, we test the family, and we are testing health care providers. This is a uniquely innovative partnership,” Wooten said.

Around 6% of county positive cases are below the age of 19. But often a lot of other cases are asymptomatic and go unrecorded. Wooten listed some studies out of China, including one that showed that 13% of pediatric cases were asymptomatic.

Rady chief operating officer Nick Holmes said the hospital system provides services at more than 20 sites across the county.

“We will initially begin testing all our Rady children satellite clinics as well as specialty clinics and affiliated primary care offices during their existing appointments. The intent is to test every patient we see, not just high-risk patients,” Holmes said.

Testing will be offered as an option to children and parents with every appointment and at affiliated urgent care facilities.

The collaborative will also be testing patients in the population that includes the county’s California Children’s Services and those served by the San Diego Regional Center.

Listen to this story by Shalina Chatlani.

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