CA preparing for ‘twindemic’ as flu season approaches, now guarantees COVID-19 results in 24-48 hours
As flu season nears, California is preparing for a “twindemic” and a notable spike in demand for influenza and COVID-19 tests, Gov. Newsom said on Wednesday.
California currently conducts around 100,000 COVID-19 tests per day, but state health officials expect an added stress on the testing system as more people get tested for the flu.
It could delay an already slow turnaround time for COVID-19 test results. Currently, the state averages a 7-day turnaround time for coronavirus test results, with some even taking as long as 10 days or more.
Newsom said the state is partnering with PerkinElmer to produce an additional 150,000 COVID-19 tests per day, with a guaranteed turnaround time of 24 to 48 hours.
The partnership will allow the state to drive down the current cost they pay for COVID-19 tests, which rages between $150 to $200 each, to as low as $30.78 each. The governor said PerkinElmer would also produce influenza tests for the state.
Newsom denounced the new guidelines set by the CDC which now says people do not have to get tested if they came into contact with someone who contracted COVID-19.
“I don’t agree with the new CDC guidance, period, full stop. It’s not the policy in the state of California. We will not be influenced by that change. We’re influenced by those who are experts in the field who feel very differently,” he said.
State leaders also urged Californians to get their flu shots ahead of flu season to help ease the potential spike in testing needs.
More counties dropped off the state’s monitoring list, Newsom said. But, counties in Central California remain.
California’s COVID-19 positivity rate was 6.1% over the last 14 days. Hospitalizations fell 17% and ICU admissions decreased by 18%.
Gov. Newsom also addressed the ongoing wildfires burning across the state. Approximately 15,000 firefighters are battling 700 fires.
The fires have forced nearly 4,000 people from their homes and devastated millions of acres of land. As of Wednesday, seven people have died.
When asked, Newsom refused to comment on the speech made by his ex-wife, Kimberly Guilfoyle, during the Republican National Convention.
Newsom said he would be providing new guidelines for California business sectors on Friday.