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COVID-19: State Continues Push For Expanded Testing As Hospitalizations From Coronavirus Stabilize

A worker picks vegetables for a customer during the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market  on April 21, 2020 in San Francisco, California.
A worker picks vegetables for a customer during the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on April 21, 2020 in San Francisco, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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In Gov. Gavin Newsom's daily update on California's response to the coronavirus, he provided updates on the six factors the state is looking at as it decides when to start easing stay-at-home restrictions, particularly around testing and tracing.

He also said President Donald Trump had just directly promised him significant numbers of swabs over the next few weeks. The governor said he can't give a specific date for lifting restrictions, but that the state could provide updates on the six indicators being monitored. Testing and tracing are "foundational" in being able to reopen public recreation, Newsom said. More than 465,000 Californians have been tested so far, but that number is inadequate to modify stay-at-home orders, the governor said. The state is currently at 16,000 tests per day, up from 2,000/day at the end of March, with a goal to get to 25,000 tests per day by the end of this month. The state's medium-term goal is to get to at least 60,000 tests per day. It wants to be able to provide 25,000 tests per day for essential workers, with at least another 35,000 per day for others, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said. Eventually the state hopes to get far beyond the 60,000 tests per day figure. There are currently more than 600 testing sites, with 251 core testing sites, Newsom said. About half the sites said they need more swabs, while others need what's used to send the swabs in for testing. The diagnostic side of testing is less stressed, according to Newsom.

The state's current coronavirus numbers, particularly hospitalizations and the number in ICU beds, are showing stability, Newsom said. Yesterday, 86 Californians died from coronavirus, Newsom said — a 6.8% increase over the previous day. But he added that there's been a modest decrease in hospitalizations, down 0.2%, while ICU numbers went down 1.8%.

In other virus-related news, the findings of a new study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association show those who have become sickest due to COVID-19 are those with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or obesity. Many doctors have noted this anecdotally, but the data from study of 5,700 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in New York City seem to back up those anecdotes. The study was not designed to explain the reason those particular conditions are common in the most sick patients.

For more of our coverage of COVID-19, check out the LAist daily briefing.

With files from LAist


Dean Blumberg, M.D., professor and chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at UC Davis Children’s Hospital