Sonoma County requests to include private lab test results in COVID-19 status report

Now with more than 40 counties in the purple tier, Sonoma County has a lot of company.

But officials are still hoping to hear from the state Tuesday, after the county put out a request to include test results from private labs that don't automatically report to the state.

Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase said Sonoma County has yet to get credit for those negative test results. Because of that, the county appears to have a higher positivity rate than it should.

Mase also said that most of the county testing has taken place in risky communities.

“Some were upwards of 30% of our contacts of positives,” Mase said. “And then we’re also doing all of that testing in the highest hit populations, those areas where there is more transmission and higher rates. All of our testing that we do at our public health lab is going to have a much higher positivity rate.”

Private labs often have a positivity rate of 1%, compared to the overall county rate of 4.3%.

Testing numbers include people who may not show symptoms but just want to make sure they test negative, but those tests were not reported to the state.

Sonoma County acknowledged that even if the state agrees to include those private lab tests, the new numbers may still not get the county out from under the most restrictive regulations.