Category Archives: Testing

Solano County COVID-19 testing – by the numbers April 13 – present

By Roger Straw, UPDATED ON May 22, 2020
Workers with the Solano Public Health Office collect samples for testing during the county’s first drive-thru testing facility for first responders and essential job employees on April 8 at the Solano County Fairgrounds in Vallejo. (Chris Riley/ Times-Herald)

Health experts everywhere are in agreement: the only way to stop a renewed outbreak of coronavirus cases and deaths is to press forward with widespread testing and contact tracing.  Experts on the economy agree that a key to restarting the economy is increased testing.

The Solano County Public Health department has reported on the number of our residents tested on a daily basis (Monday-Friday) since April 13.  Over this period, the daily number tested has varied widely, from 29 to 1,021, averaging 192 per day. (See table below.)

Today, the County reported 367 residents newly tested since yesterday.  The total number of Solano County residents tested as of today is 9,340, still just under 2% of the population (477,643 as of 2019).  Here’s hoping these numbers continue to increase in the days and weeks ahead.

State run testing sites in Vallejo and Vacaville are open to anyone.

Solano County COVID-19 Dashboard – Residents Tested
Date # Tested (cumulative) # Tests Added
(M-F report)
Daily Avg
Monday, April 13, 2020 1,855
Tuesday, April 14, 2020 1,922 67
Wednesday, April 15, 2020 2,015 93
Thursday, April 16, 2020 2,169 154
Friday, April 17, 2020 2,324 155
Monday, April 20, 2020 2,463 139 46
Tuesday, April 21, 2020 2,506 43
Wednesday, April 22, 2020 2,555 49
Thursday, April 23, 2020 2,584 29
Friday, April 24, 2020 2,627 43
Monday, April 27, 2020 3,065 438 146
Tuesday, April 28, 2020 3,570 505
Wednesday, April 29, 2020 3,676 106
Thursday, April 30, 2020 3,713 37
Friday, May 1, 2020 4,099 386
Monday, May 4, 2020 5,160 1,061 354
Tuesday, May 5, 2020 5,219 59
Wednesday, May 6, 2020 5,286 67
Thursday, May 7, 2020 5,297 11
Friday, May 8, 2020 5,369 72
Monday, May 11, 2020 5,576 207 69
Tuesday, May 12, 2020 5,669 93
Wednesday, May 13, 2020 5,934 265
Thursday, May 14, 2020 6,008 74
Friday, May 15, 2020 6,761 753
Monday, May 18, 2020 7,368 607 202
Tuesday, May 19, 2020 7,736 368
Wednesday, May 20, 2020 7,961 225
Thursday, May 21, 2020 8,973 1,021
Friday, May 22, 2020 9,340 367
Average daily number tested (adjusted for weekend count) 192

Solano COVID-19 UPDATE: 5 new cases, shockingly few tested

Thursday, May 7
5 new positive cases, no new deaths.
Total now 342 cases, 7 deaths.

Source: Solano County Coronavirus Information & Resources

Solano County Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Updates and Resources.  Check out basic information in this screenshot.    IMPORTANT: The County’s interactive page has more.  On the County website, you can click on “Number of cases” and then hover over the charts for detailed information.

Previous report, Wednesday, May 6


Solano County reported 5 new positive cases today, total is now 342No new deaths, total now at 7.


  • No new cases of young persons under 19 years of age, total of 6 cases, less than 2% of the 342 confirmed cases.
  • 4 of today’s 5 new cases were persons 19-64 years of age, total of 250 cases, 74% of the total.   No new deaths, total of 2.  Note that only 33 of the 250 cases in this age group (13%) were hospitalized at one time.  (It is unclear whether the 2 deaths were ever hospitalized.)
  • 1 of today’s 5 new cases were persons 65 or older, total of 86 cases, 25% of the total.  No new deaths, total of 5.  Note that 25 of the 86 cases in this age group (29%) were hospitalized at one time, more than double the percentage in the mid-age group(It is unclear whether the 5 deaths in this age group were ever hospitalized.)

HOSPITALIZATIONS: 59 of Solano’s 342 cases resulted in hospitalizations, an increase of only 2 since yesterday.  Relatively good news – a small increase.

ACTIVE CASES:  72 of the 342 are active cases, 1 fewer than yesterday’s total.  Note that the county does not report WHERE the active cases are.  Below you will see that only 11 are currently hospitalized, which leaves 61 of these 72 active cases out in our communities somewhere, and hopefully quarantined.

The County’s “Hospital Impact” graph shows 11 of the 59 hospitalized cases are CURRENTLY hospitalized, 2 fewer than yesterday.  The County’s count of ICU beds available and ventilator supply remains at “GOOD” at 31-100%. (No information is given on our supply of test kits, PPE and staff.)


  • Vallejo added 4 of today’s 5 new cases, total of  195.
  • Fairfield added 1 of today’s 5 new cases, total of 63.
  • Vacaville remains at 36 (steady over the last 3 days).
  • Suisun City remains at 16 (steady over the last 4 days).
  • Benicia remains at 16 (steady over the last 3 days).
  • Dixon, Rio Vista and “Unincorporated” are still not assigned numerical data: today all remain at <10 (less than 10).  Note that the numbers for other cities add up to 326, leaving 16 cases located somewhere among the locations in this “<10” category (same number as last reported).  Residents and city officials have pressured County officials for city case counts.  Today’s data is welcome, but still incomplete.


The County reports that 5,297 residents have been tested as of today.  This is an increase of only 11 residents tested since yesterday’s total of 5,286.
This pitiful increase comes two days after the County announced the opening of new State run testing sites in Vacaville and Vallejo, open to anyoneWhat is going on here?!  Our testing numbers need to be much higher AND SHOULD BE INCREASING DAILY!
· See
Solano testing – by the numbers April 13 – present.
· See also Solano County announces testing available to all.
We have a long way to go:
only 1% of Solano County’s 447,643 residents (2019) have been tested.

Solano’s upward curve in cumulative cases – as of May 7

The chart above shows the infection’s trajectory in Solano County.  We may be seeing a flattening of the overall curve, but it is still creeping up.  Our nursing homes, long-term care facilities and jails bear watching!

Still incredibly important – everyone stay home, wear masks when you are out, and be safe!

Solano County announces COVID-19 testing available to all

Solano County Coronavirus Press Releases, May 4, 2020

County increases COVID-19 testing with two new community testing sites

SOLANO COUNTY – Following Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent announcement to add more than 80 community testing sites across the state focused on underserved communities, Solano County has launched two state operated testing sites in Vacaville and Vallejo. These new sites are powered through a partnership with the state and OptumServe, the federal government health services business of Optum, a leading health services innovation company.

Testing is by appointment only. Online applications for appointments can be scheduled at For people without internet access, they can call 888-634-1123.

Testing is open to anyone in the community, including agricultural workers, the homeless, undocumented individuals, and residents.

“The sites increase capacity to provide testing to individuals who have had limited access, enhance our ability to conduct surveillance, and help us work towards a phased reopening in our community,” said Dr. Bela Matyas, Solano County Health Officer. “We are grateful that the state has chosen to establish testing sites in our County and have this resource available for community members.”

To determine where to locate new testing sites, the state looked at both rural and urban areas where Californians would have to travel between 30 and 60 minutes to reach an existing testing site or hospital. That information was then evaluated based on underserved populations, to address known disparities, and median income, so residents have access to testing regardless of socioeconomic status.

“Thanks to Solano County and to OptumServe for the collaboration to make these testing sites possible,” said Charity Dean, M.D., Assistant Director of the California Department of Public Health. “We’re working together as part of the state’s Testing Task Force to ensure regions with the greatest need have access to tests, and these sites are going to be a major component in reaching our testing goals.”

For more information, click on Governor Newsom’s announcement to expand community testing in underserved areas. For more information about OptumServe, visit For local coronavirus information, go to

# # #

News Contact:
Jayleen Richards, Public Health Administrator, Health and Social Services Department
(707) 784-8616 and

Coming soon? Less Invasive Do-It-Yourself Cheek Swab for Coronavirus

Do-It-Yourself Cheek Swab Tested As Next Best Thing To Detect Coronavirus


Long Beach lifeguard Jeremy Rocha gives out a COVID-19 test kit at a drive-thru testing site at Long Beach’s Jordan High School on April 18. It’s one of 21 sites in Southern California where people can provide a sample by swishing a cotton swab around their mouths, putting it in a tube and dropping it in a receptacle on their way out — all within the comfort of their cars. (Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)
Kaiser Health News, By David Tuller, May 1, 2020 – (Also appeared on May 1 in the Vallejo Times-Herald)

Coronavirus testing is commonly an unpleasant, even painful experience in which a health care provider pushes a torturously long swab up your nostril….

Since late March, three Southern California jurisdictions ― Los Angeles County, and the cities of L.A. and Long Beach ― have offered a more palatable alternative to this nasopharyngeal sampling, whose very name poses a challenge. At 21 drive-thru sites, anyone can now provide a sample by swishing a cotton swab around their mouths, putting it in a tube and dropping it in a receptacle on their way out — all within the comfort of their cars. Some experts suggest this self-sampling approach may provide an easier way to ramp up massive testing in the U.S.

“I strongly advocate for the oral self-swab,” said Dr. Clayton Kazan, medical director for the L.A. County Fire Department, which is overseeing the county’s drive-thru testing program. “It may or may not be inferior, depending on the study you read, but, logistically, there is no comparison.”

But many public health officials balk at relying on the simpler tests unless scientific data convincingly shows they work as well as the accepted methods.

“I have real concerns about decisions that are made based on studies that have not been peer-reviewed,” said Dr. Richard Besser, CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and former acting head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“In the middle of this pandemic, we don’t want to compromise, especially if people are going to use that information to decide if they’re going to follow social distancing,” said Dr. Adam Jarrett, chief medical officer at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, New Jersey.

Nasopharyngeal samples have long been standard for diagnosing influenza and other respiratory infections because the pathogens are known to colonize the upper part of the throat behind the nose. In contrast, the simpler method being used in L.A. County — in which patients are asked to cough and then swab their cheeks and the back of their mouths — is based on a limited body of emerging research.

The CDC currently calls nasopharyngeal swabs the “preferred choice” for coronavirus testing. It doesn’t recommend self-collected oral fluids, and the number of jurisdictions pursuing this strategy remains limited.

In early April, Middlesex County, New Jersey, also began to offer symptomatic individuals drive-thru tests using oral samples produced after a cough. On Monday, officials in New York City said they planned to begin offering testing using self-collected oral and nasal samples at public hospitals.

Scientists and public health experts have promoted increased viral testing and surveillance as key to any strategy for safely loosening societal restrictions — and the need to collect nasopharyngeal samples by professionals dressed in protective gear represents a major obstacle. That’s why interest is rising in the use of oral samples as well as nasal swabs that can be self-administered, said Lisa Barcellos, an epidemiologist at the University of California-Berkeley.

“It’s impossible to scale up anything that requires health professionals to do it, and with equipment that’s hard to get,” Barcellos said. The surge in demand for the specialized 6-inch swabs required for the nasopharyngeal procedure has led to critical shortages, she added.

The L.A. County, Los Angeles and Long Beach drive-thru sites — designed for people experiencing symptoms — collectively process about 7,000 oral swab tests a day, with a positive rate of just over 7%, according to Curative, the diagnostics company that provides the tests. Curative is holding discussions with jurisdictions in other areas and last week announced an agreement to test Air Force personnel.

Kazan acknowledged that nasopharyngeal sampling is considered the most trustworthy method but noted recent studies have reported promising results from oral samples. Moreover, he said, relying on self-administered techniques eliminates the danger to health care personnel and minimizes the need for personal protective equipment in short supply, like masks, face shields and protective suits.

Kazan said people who receive the tests are relieved to find that collecting secretions from their mouths is relatively quick and easy.

“I think that a lot of folks envision what they saw on YouTube, people in PPE that look like astronauts putting swabs way up people’s noses,” he said.

But to be useful, diagnostic tests must be accurate. A “false negative,” in which the test fails to detect the coronavirus, could lead someone who is infected to think they are safe and pose no danger to others.

Since the pandemic began, a growing body of research — some of which has not yet undergone peer review — has compared how accurately different sampling techniques detect the virus. “Everybody’s looking for better ways to do this,” said Barcellos, who is involved in a major study of the prevalence of coronavirus infection in the East Bay region.

Both oral and nasal samples can be obtained in more and less invasive ways. Oropharyngeal swabs require the instrument to be inserted down the throat; like nasopharyngeal swabs, they are supposed to be performed by a trained provider because the procedure can be uncomfortable and tends to produce a gag reflex.

And swabs of secretions gathered from just inside the nostril can be self-administered, unlike the nasopharyngeal swabs. A Seattle study of hundreds of coronavirus patients found that self-collected samples were almost as accurate as nasopharyngeal swabs in identifying viral infections. In March, Seattle public health agencies launched a home-testing surveillance project using the nasal self-swab, with local residents registering online.

On April 21, the Food and Drug Administration awarded its first authorization for a nasal self-swab home test, made by LabCorp. The agency had previously issued warnings to consumers about “fraudulent” coronavirus home test kits being marketed online.

The emerging research has also investigated oral fluid tests, like those being conducted in L.A. County, with subjects generally required to cough in order to bring up virus-rich saliva before they swab their mouth or spit into a container. A non-peer-reviewed study of 65 patients in China reported that the detection rate of the novel coronavirus was higher in saliva than in other respiratory samples. Other studies have found that oral fluid tests aren’t as accurate when people are not reminded to cough beforehand.

Carey-Ann Burnham, medical director of microbiology at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, said the early research on oral fluids looks “remarkably promising.”

But “a nasopharyngeal swab is a standardized sampling technique that’s been done for decades,” said Burnham, who is also a professor of immunology and pathology at Washington University School of Medicine. “Saliva, oral secretions — that’s not a standard way we’ve looked for respiratory viruses, and right now everyone’s doing it a little bit differently.”

That makes it harder to compare studies and results, she said.

The FDA’s authorization for the Curative test recommends that the self-collection process be “observed by a trained healthcare worker.” Kazan, the fire department medical director, said that trained staffers observe the oral self-swabbing. While acknowledging the limitations of the early data, Kazan insists that the needs of the moment are paramount.

“This is the space between smart people reading medical literature and those of us who are tasked with operationalizing these recommendations,” he said.

This KHN story first published on California Healthline, a service of the California Health Care Foundation. This story also ran on KPCC. This story can be republished for free (details).