California governor activates National Guard to boost COVID testing capacity


California Governor Gavin Newsom introduced Friday he’s activating the California National Guard to add COVID-19 testing websites and boost capacity. More than 200 guard members are being deployed to 50 websites to assist with scientific staffing and crowd management, the governor mentioned.

“This new action is on top of the existing 6,000 testing sites that have been set up across the state, the recent demand-based expansion of hours at state-operated sites and the 9.6 million tests that the state has distributed to schools since early December,” his office mentioned in a news release.

The announcement comes as folks face issue discovering coronavirus check kits in lots of components of California and delays in getting outcomes — inflicting rising frustration and contributing to a surge of infections that in simply two weeks greater than doubled the variety of folks in hospitals with COVID-19.

Some county mail-in testing applications have been halted due to exploding demand. In locations the place assessments can be found, folks typically have to wait in line for a number of hours.

There’s additionally been a lag in acquiring check outcomes. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, an epidemiology professor at University of California, San Francisco’s medical college, mentioned she heard one lab was taking 9 days to return outcomes — longer than somebody uncovered to COVID-19 might have to quarantine.

“If you are trying to do the right thing, and you decided to wait in line to get a test, having a long time to get actionable information is not helpful,” she mentioned. “It’s sort of absurd.”

Some folks have resorted to paying $100 or extra for a speedy end result, one thing many cannot afford.

In Los Angeles County, the place 1 / 4 of the state’s almost 40 million folks stay, overwhelming demand prompted a short lived halt to a program that allowed folks to check at residence and mail again their pattern. Public well being director Barbara Ferrer mentioned she hopes the testing crunch will ease in coming days. In the meantime, she urged restraint.

“Please don’t decide that because you didn’t get tested, you don’t have COVID and you don’t have to stay home if you’ve got symptoms,” she mentioned. “We do ask while we’re trying to increase testing capacity and make it much easier for everyone who need to test to get a test that you please stay home while you’re symptomatic.”

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