Highlights from Gov. Newsom’s presser – Testing and more

Around the Capitol, by Scott Lay, The Nooner for April 5, 2020 (excerpt)


  • California cases: 13,962 confirmed (+11.2% from yesterday)
  • California fatalities:  321 confirmed (+14.6% from yesterday)


“California is getting some recognition for all that we are doing, but we can do better.” — Gov. Gavin Newsom

TESTING: Yesterday’s press conference by Governor Gavin Newsom was an update on what the state is doing to increase testing and the return of results therefrom in California. Governor Newsom said that 126,700 tests have been conducted, which Newsom said “sounds low to me.” The backlog in results has been reduced and stands at 13,000, down from 59,100. Some results were taking up to 10 days, with 5-7 day waits common. Obviously, this created both uncertainty for those tested, but also took up healthcare resources as ERs had to decide whether to admit those with flu-like symptoms or send them home awaiting tests.

The tone from Governor Newsom was noticeable and echoed that heard from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Newsom said “It is on me” and “We can do better” whenever a shortcoming was mentioned. Of course, fingers easily could have been pointed elsewhere, but it was a strikingly different tone from elsewhere.

Here are a few bullets from my notes, but of course you can watch the governor’s presser on either on Facebook or Twitter:

  • There is a new partnership with UC Davis and UC San Diego to create 5-7 “hubs” to work with new vendors to increase test result processing. Through the partnership, there will be better data collection of the virus’s breadth around the state and helkp marshal resources accordingly.
  • Stanford University has developed a serology (blood) test pending FDA approval expected imminently that will be able to test for antibodies to COVID-19. This can quickly assess whether someone has already had COVID-19 and measure “herd immunity.” That’s a phenomenon when sufficient people within a defined population have developed antibodies to slow or even stop a contagion. This also is significant in determining when to reopen workplaces/society and the like and ensuring that the US doesn’t have a “second wave” as being experienced in Singapore and South Korea right now.
  • Abbott Laboratories is prepared for 75 on-site testing locations geographically spread throughout California that can return COVID-19 results within 5-15 minutes. This is the “second test” President Trump took the other day.
  • There is a new state website developed with Salesforce to invite vendors to identify deliverable supplies by type and timeline: covid19supplies.ca.gov

The governor also announced a new workgroup to make recommendations on the issues relating to testing, which is led by Dr. Charity Dean, Assistant Director of the California Department of Public Health and Dr. Paul Markovich, President and CEO of Blue Shield of California.