Weekly COVID-19 testing should be required for most workers as businesses reopen, UCSF doctor says

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- California has substantially increased testing capacity since early April, climbing up to 27th in the nation for COVID-19 testing, according to an ABC7 I-Team data analysis.

This week nearly 28,000 COVID-19 tests were administered across the state per one million people. That's an increase from roughly 21,000 tests reported last week and more than three times the rate reported last month.

RELATED: California making improvements in COVID-19 testing

To put it in perspective California ranked 46 nationally in early April.



"We're doing pretty well... but we have a long way to go," said UCSF emergency room doctor Jeanne Noble. "Especially as life starts to reopen."

California will enter phase two of reopening Monday, where many people will return to work.

"Please get tested if you're working," said Dr. Grant Colfax, the San Francisco Public Health Director.

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So how often should workers get tested? What's considered safe?

"If you are daily in contact with people who are sick... you need to be tested daily," said Noble. "If you're in contact with people who are not sick... then something like weekly testing is probably fine."

There are two questions you should answer:

1. Am I working in a place that has a high likelihood of disease?
"Testing should happen daily."

2. Am I working in a place with close proximity to other people?
"Testing should happen daily."

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Dr. Noble said until there's a reliable vaccine getting tested once will never be good enough.

The expectation is "test- then test again."

"Your test is only good for the period of time for which you have no other exposure," Noble said.

What if we get another surge?

"If we have another outbreak... if we truly surge, then weekly testing would no longer be adequate," Noble said. "We have to keep doing this and redefining testing needs until we have a vaccine."

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