California sets new priorities for who gets COVID-19 testing as demand surges

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State officials adopted new guidelines Tuesday outlining who should be prioritized for COVID-19 testing in California as cases surged and counties reported delayed lab results.

The new rules mark a move away from the Newsom administration‘s plans for anyone, including those without symptoms, to be tested for the virus in California. The guidelines instead adopt tiers that prioritize the testing of hospitalized patients with coronavirus symptoms, other symptomatic people, and then higher-risk asymptomatic individuals, according to state health officials.

“Today’s testing guidelines … set priorities — Tier 1 and Tier 2 priorities — that look to really focus our initial testing on people who have symptoms,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s secretary of Health and Human Services, during a briefing on Tuesday. Through such testing, he said, “we can make really important efforts in suppressing disease transmission.”

The change comes as California reports more than 330,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, as well as increases in hospitalizations and the rate of positive tests over the last two weeks. Some counties are reporting bottlenecks at testing labs that have resulted in delayed results or a shortage of supplies as more people seek tests.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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