I-Team data analysis: Most states beat California for COVID-19 testing

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- California is lagging far behind most other states in testing for COVID-19. That's what new data from the ABC7 News I-Team shows, when you look at the numbers as a percentage of population.

This, even though counties around the Bay Area are ramping up their testing.

For two weeks, Marin County has been quietly testing people for COVID-19 at a drive-through facility in San Rafael, but not just anyone can come.

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Lanie Hendricks, Marin County Public Information Officer, tells the I-Team, "This is a physician-referral only site, so if individuals do show up without an appointment, unfortunately they will be turned away."

Turned away by guards at the entrance. Hendricks tells me almost 700 people have received tests at this site, as seen from SKY7 today. At the onset of the coronavirus crisis, tests were in short supply, but counties have run into another problem.

"Now, we're facing a complication where labs are not able to keep up with the demand," said Hendricks. "And so we're only able to submit, for instance at our state lab, up to fifty tests a day when quite honestly we are testing more than that number every single day."

Marin and other counties around the Bay Area and the state are ramping up testing, but new data shows that California is far behind other states in terms of testing.

The ABC7 I-Team ran an analysis of the number of coronavirus tests performed in every state, compared to population. Two hot-spot states are doing the best job - New York, with more than 6,000 tests per million people; Washington State, with 4,500.

All the way down at the 46th spot, California is conducting just 515 coronavirus tests per one million people.

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Governor Gavin Newsom addressed the slow progress of testing, as he welcomed the Hospital Ship Mercy to the Port of LA. "We are making progress on every front."

He says the state is still struggling to acquire supplies for the testing. "And in some cases, these test results are coming back 6, 7, 8 days later. We've got to increase our throughput," he said.

In fact, the California Department of Public Health says more than 57,000 additional tests have been done, but the results are pending. Once those come in, we'll move up the list.

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