Updated 1:12 p.m.
On Friday, California had a backlog of more than 59,000 unprocessed COVID-19 tests. Within 24 hours, that number fell dramatically, to approximately 13,000.
“The testing space has been a challenging one for us and I own that,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Saturday. “It’s a new day, and we are turning the page on our old approach.”
The governor took his daily coronavirus crisis update to focus on what the state is doing to ramp up its testing capacity.
Overall, roughly 126,000 Californians have been tested for the virus, a number that Newsom called “inadequate” despite having “substantially reduced that backlog.”
“That testing number may sound high to some,” he said, “but it is low.”
Newsom introduced a new partnership with UC Davis and UC San Diego to create a minimum of five testing “hubs” up and down the state “to significantly increase our testing capacity and collaborative spirit.”
Another company, Abbott Laboratories, has committed to 75 testing sites at hospital and health-care centers. They will partner on “point-of-care” tests where results can be determined in five to 15 minutes, according to Newsom.
The increase in testing has resulted in a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in California, which jumped by 12.4 percent in the past 24 hours, to 12,026 positive patients.
Some 2,300 are hospitalized, and 1,008 are receiving intensive-care treatment, a number that went up by double digits again in the past day. Deaths in the state increased by 35 on Friday to 285.
Newsom urged residents to continue to be patient while remaining at home. “We cannot allow cabin fever to come in, we cannot allow people to start congregating again,” he said. “We’re not out of the woods.”
He hinted that it may be a long road until California life returns to normal. When asked whether professional sporting events, such as NFL and NBA games, might return to California in August or September, he was not optimistic.
“I’m not anticipating that happening in the state,” he said, adding that experts will advise when that moment comes.
His administration continues to focus on obtaining N95 masks and personal protective equipment for health-care workers on the front lines, including the launch of a new COVID-19 supplies website where people can help and donate.
State officials are also monitoring 8,832 sites, which are potentially at high risk for outbreaks, in some cases where two-thirds of the patients or residents are testing positive for the coronavirus, according to Newsom.
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