County Public Health orders laboratories testing for COVID-19 to report more comprehensive testing data to state and local authorities
March 25, 2020
SOLANO COUNTY – The Solano County Health and Social Services Department, Public Health division joins the seven Bay Area jurisdictions in taking a regional step to combat the spread of novel coronavirus. Solano Public Health has announced an order with new reporting requirements for laboratories that test for the novel coronavirus. Laboratories must report results of tests for all residents to the ordering health care provider and the appropriate state and local health officials.
Currently, labs report only positive results, making it difficult for public health officials to know how many people are being tested overall. The new order requires laboratories to report all positive, negative and inconclusive results, and information that allows health officials to better locate the person tested. The more comprehensive information will improve health officials’ understanding of the rates of infection and the location of possible infection clusters.
“This order expands reporting beyond the positive results to include negative and inconclusive results so that we have better understanding about the transmission of the disease in the region,” said Dr. Bela Matyas, M.D., M.P.H., Solano County Health Officer. “Accurate and precise diagnostic testing is essential for combatting the spread of COVID-19. Receiving this critical information from the laboratories will help our health department track the cases, predict its spread, and take a more streamlined approach in responding to the situation.”
Growing availability of testing through commercial and academic laboratories expands the overall testing capacity beyond small, specialized public health laboratories. The public health laboratory network offers only limited testing for emerging infections such as COVID-19 as other commercial and academic laboratory sectors come online. Because of the limited capacity of public health laboratories and the absence of further reporting requirements of private laboratories, the current percentage of cases that are detected through testing is important but reflects only a small portion of the total number of people infected in Solano County.
The laboratory reporting order follows new data of increasing local transmission of COVID-19, with 24 confirmed cases in Solano County, and over a thousand confirmed cases have been reported in the entire Bay Area region. For more information about COVID-19 in Solano County, visit www.solanocounty.com/publichealth and on Facebook www.Facebook.com/SolanoCountyPH.