COVID-19 cases drop in California, Gov. Newsom wants to boost testing

Hosted by

Signs for COVID-19 testing face travelers entering the United States from Mexico at the San Ysidro pedestrian border. San Diego County looks to target essential workers who cross into the United States each day during the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Photo taken in San Diego, California, U.S., August 14, 2020. Credit: REUTERS/Mike Blake.

COVID-19 numbers for LA County are declining and the area meets many of the state’s benchmarks. But the county’s public health director, Barbara Ferrer, says LA is still not considering allowing elementary schools to open: “Given the need to review the implications of the new state guidance of school reopening plans, we are not ready to open up our waiver process."

San Diego, Orange, and Santa Cruz have all been taken off the state’s watch list. 

“People are wearing masks. People are social distancing. And people are doing what we’re asking of them,” says Dr. George Rutherford, a professor of epidemiology at UC San Francisco.

He says the pandemic has moved from big urban areas into the Central Valley. 

Meanwhile, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a partnership with a Massachusetts-based diagnostics company to more than double the state’s testing capacity.

“[By] expanding testing by 150,000 tests per day throughout the state, they're hoping to speed up the process in which people get their test results,” says LA Times reporter Colleen Shalby. “Earlier in the summer, there were massive delays for people getting results back. And a result after a week can prove to be pointless if you've been infected that entire time.”

Newsom wants to begin processing tens of thousands of additional tests at a new lab by November 1, and run at full capacity by ­no later than March 1, 2021.

“It would be nice to have expanded testing sooner than later,” she says. “I think gearing up towards the holiday season will help people get information back more quickly during a crucial time.”

Credits

Guests:
Colleen Shalby - LA Times, Dr. George Rutherford - University of California San Francisco

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin, Kathryn Barnes