California Gov. Newsom announces a new approach and partnership in an effort to disrupt the COVID-19 testing market to bring down costs and improve reliability and access to everybody in terms of getting more tests.
Newsom said the state is currently conducting an average of roughly 100,000 tests per day and the turn-around time is up to a week.
The average cost of a molecular diagnostic test is $150-$200, he said adding the state is partnering with PerkinElmer to build a new lab in the state with a full supply chain.
He said with this partnership, California is adding up to additional 150,000 diagnostic tests per day. He said tests will have a 24 to 48 hour guaranteed turn-around time.
He said 40,000 tests will cost $47.99, if there are 100,000 tests that will ost $37.78 and 150,000 tests will be $30.78.
"If we are we have plans to re-open safely, we have to have the testing capacity," Newsom said.
Newsom said this partnership:
drives down testing costs for everyone
guaranteed turn-around time for results
protect essential workers and at-risk groups
insurance against the flu season twin-demic
California now has 679,099 confirmed cases of COVID-19, resulting in 12,407 deaths. The number of COVID-related deaths increased by 1.2 percent from Monday's total of 12,257. The number of COVID-19 diagnostic test results in California reached a total of 10,832,757, an increase of 70,251 tests since Monday. The rate of positive tests over the last 14 days is 6.1 percent.
Newsom said Amador and Glenn counties were removed and Tehama County was added from the state monitoring list where there are more than 30 counties listed including LA County. Orange County was removed from the state monitoring list this week.
On Tuesday, California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly there have been 110,000 tests in the last 24 hours and the state's positivity is 5.7 percent over 7 days and 6.3 percent over 14 days.
"Both of those numbers are down compared to what it had been 14 days, 28 days, two months ago, we have seen that number continuously trend down," Ghaly said.
Newsom said there 1.3 million acres burned and 15,000 firefighters, more than 2,400 engines, 700 fires across the state. More than 1,690 structures have been destroyed and there have been seven fatalities. He said the SCU and LNU Lightning Complex fires are the second and third largest in state history that are active fires going on in the Bay Area.
Ghaly said there's been an intersection between COVID-19 and the wildfires adding questions like "what does it mean to operate a shelter with physical distancing?" need to be addressed.
Ghaly said thousands of people, or 136,000 Californians, are under evacuation in many parts of the state and of those, 3,383 are living in shelters.
He said shelters have ample PPE and masks and distanced cots are placed at least six feet apart.
Ghaly reminded of the 136,000 evacuees across the state and just over 3,000 who are in shelters.
He said for those 133,000 evacuees who are out of their homes for the first time in months, they may be staying with friends or family.
He added if someone is staying with family or friends, try to wear a face-covering indoors while mixing with people you haven't seen in a while. "Wash your hands often."
WHAT IS CLOSED IN CA AGAIN?
Previously, Newsom has ordered the closure of fitness centers, houses of worship, hair salons and barbershops indoors, nail salons in those counties on the state monitoring list, which includes LA County, and other counties across the state. Newsom has also reminded what's closed statewide - indoor operations at dine-in restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, zoos, bars including outdoors - and what was closed in certain counties on the state monitoring list like gyms, shopping malls and places of worship.
The city of LA also ordered the closures of their gyms, nail salons, hair salons and barbershops indoors, and houses of worship.
SCHOOLS: MASK MANDATE, HAND WASHING STATIONS, PHYSICAL DISTANCING
Newsom said schools can physically reopen when its county has been off the monitoring list for 14 consecutive days. Schools that don't meet this requirement must begin the year with distance learning, according to Newsom.
Newsom said the schools in those counties on the watch list can't reopen in-person school until they are off the state monitoring list for two weeks straight unless the district superintendent requests a waiver from the county health officer, which may be granted.
For those schools that can open, there are new restrictions and criteria in place. Newsom said all school staff and students in third grade and above must wear masks. Students in second grade and below are encouraged to wear masks or face shields.
Staff must maintain six feet between each other and with students. He said there will be symptom checks, hand washing stations, deep sanitation and disinfection efforts and quarantine protocols.
There will be a requirement to test staff regularly. Newsom outlined when should in-person learning close?
That's when schools should consult with a public health officer first. He said a classroom cohort goes home when there is a confirmed case, and a school goes home when multiple cohorts have cases or more than 5 percent of the school is positive.
He said a district goes home if 25 percent of their schools are closed within a 14 days period.