San Diego County Looks To Increase Testing Capacity With The Rise Of Delta Variant (KPBS


San Diego County Looks To Increase Testing Capacity With Rise Of Delta Variant
Description: As demand for COVID-19 testing rises, local health officials and health providers take action. Plus, the San Diego City Council Monday passed an ordinance intended to crack down on firearms without serial numbers, otherwise known as “ghost guns.” Then, the Dark Horse Battalion, based at Camp Pendleton, examines its legacy in Afghanistan. Later, a San Diego sports psychologist weighs in on Simone Biles’ mental gymnastics. And, former Democratic Senate majority leader Harry Reid told KPBS Midday Edition that he was disappointed with a recent Department of Defense report about UFOs.

Speaker 1: 00:01 COVID cases are rising. So our demands for testing being met,

Speaker 2: 00:05 And we had a large increase in demand for testing I’m

Speaker 1: 00:09 Jade Heintzman with Maureen Kavanaugh. This is KPBS mid-day edition. The efforts to control ghost guns in San Diego.

Speaker 3: 00:28 We will make sure that we treat these unfinished frames and receivers just like every other firearm requiring background checks, waiting periods so that we know who’s purchasing them and we prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.

Speaker 1: 00:41 The impact of war on the dark horse battalion plus the mental health of athletes and a lawmaker who says aliens are out there. That’s ahead on midday edition, more people across the county are seeking COVID testing. As the Delta variant is causing an increase in people, sickened from and exposed to the virus. Now, both healthcare providers and local health officials are working on plans to rapidly increase testing capacity here to tell us more about those efforts in San Diego union Tribune, healthcare reporter, Paul Sisson. Paul, welcome. Thanks for having me. So can you give us an idea of how much of an increase in testing demand we’ve seen in San Diego county in the last few weeks?

Speaker 2: 01:31 Yeah, I was wondering this myself yesterday, so I asked the county and, uh, it looks like, um, uh, July 1st we had an average of about 7,200 tests going on. That’s a seven day average. Uh, and as of Sunday, the seven day average was about 12,000. So it’s increased it. Hasn’t quite doubled if you’re looking at it. It’s seven day averages, which I think is a more kind of accurate way to understand some of these numbers, but it certainly has increased quite a bit. Uh, a few days ago it was, uh, getting over 15,000 per day on certain days, then maybe a few weeks, a few months ago. We, uh, we might’ve been down to, you know, maybe just a couple thousand, uh, on any given day. So we’ve certainly had a large increase in demand for testing exactly what it is. Uh, you know, these numbers are always changing. The most recent numbers are, are a little, uh, under reported just because it takes some labs longer to get their results back to the county health department to be reported to us in the public.

Speaker 1: 02:32 How long could someone expect to wait to be tested now as opposed to last month? And also, is there a delay in getting the results of those tests? Seems

Speaker 2: 02:42 Like some folks were waiting a, you know, an hour maybe close to two hours in certain locations. For some reason yesterday there, there seemed to be a large, uh, weight going on at many, uh, Kaiser facilities, uh, run by Kaiser Permanente across the county. As far as I know, uh, there haven’t really been any major delays in them processing those samples that get collected and getting results back to people. Uh, I talked to a physician over at sharp yesterday, uh, sharp healthcare here in town that runs its own massive testing lab. And they said, yeah, you know, we’re, we’re able to run as many large batches of tests as we need to. And we’re usually able to get results back to people in 24 to 48 hours. So it doesn’t really seem like there’s been a massive increase in the result time yet. Uh, I think it’s safe to say that, uh, if you went in to get a sample collected at a, at a testing site, uh, a month ago or so you wouldn’t have much weight at all. And now just depending on where you go, you might see, you know, you might end up waiting an hour. Uh, if you’re in your car, uh, you know, in one of these sites that backs up public

Speaker 1: 03:46 Health officials worried that this could discourage people from getting tested. Uh, you know, they’re

Speaker 2: 03:51 Not saying that they’re worried, but I think if you, uh, judge things by, by what they’re doing, I think they, they must be a little worried that we learned yesterday that, uh, San Diego county just put up a large, uh, new testing, uh, walk-in location, uh, Cal state San Marcos up in north county. Uh, that’s going to be capable of starting today of, of, uh, processing, I think about 1000 people or more per day. Uh, and they are working on a similar addition, uh, at San Diego state down in the core of the city. Uh, that should be open this week. They don’t have an exact day on that get, and it sounds like they’re also increasing, uh, testing at some of their other smaller locations as well. So yeah, I think they are definitely concerned about it. Just judging them by their actions. They’re not really coming out and saying that they’re worried, uh, publicly,

Speaker 1: 04:40 You know, many employers in the region have recently started requiring vaccines or frequent testing. So how big of a factor are these new testing requirements and this increased demand? It’s really

Speaker 2: 04:52 Hard to say. Uh, there, there really isn’t any good data on exactly why patients are coming in, uh, for testing. A lot of it could be asymptomatic testing. Uh, the county just doesn’t really break that down, uh, and, and tell us in the public, uh, what percentage, uh, of testing going on on any given day is for people who don’t have any symptoms and are, and are doing this as a routine requirement of their employer, though. Uh, there, there is a fair amount of concern, uh, that this new mandate from the state that requires state employees, as well as all healthcare employees to get tested regularly. If they’re not vaccinated starting this month is going to really cause demand for testing to even surge significantly beyond where it is today. Uh, so I think it’s very much a concern that the, you know, do we have the capacity to so regularly test so many, uh, although as we see today as well, uh, there are increasing mandates from employers, uh, to get vaccinated with Kaiser Permanente, uh, indicating that all of their employees are going to be required to be vaccinated. So it’s a little bit in flux at the moment, I guess I’d say. Yeah.

Speaker 1: 06:03 Do you expect to see the demand for testing and decrease actually anytime soon or, or do you think, um, this is our new normal when it comes to testing?

Speaker 2: 06:14 I mean, it’s hard to say exactly how things are going to go with vaccination. Uh, there, there seems to be mounting social pressure from all fronts, for those who are unvaccinated, uh, to get vaccinated. Uh, and I guess that may cause a surge in vaccination here in the, in the coming weeks. Uh, and so that would seem to be the main break on the demand for testing, but, but I think until,…


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