I-TEAM: California ranks nearly last among U.S. states in coronavirus testing due to backlog

As of Friday morning there is a backlog of nearly 60,000 COVID-19 tests to be processed in California.

The ABC7 News I-TEAM dug into the data and discovered only one state has processed fewer tests than California.

State officials say the number of COVID-19 cases in California tops 10,000 with more than 2,000 people hospitalized and approximately 900 people in the ICU.

But those numbers could be misleading because California is so far behind in testing.

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An ABC7 News I-TEAM analysis of data from the COVID-19 tracking project and state health departments looked at testing across the 50 states and Washington, D.C.

When standardizing for population differences per million people, California is 50th with approximately 33,000 COVID-19 tests processed.

Only Oklahoma has processed fewer tests, coming in 51st with approximately 2,000 tests processed.

New York is in first place, having processed approximately 239,000 tests.

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"The commercial labs have such large cues because so many tests are now being done at the same time. It's taking six, seven to 12 days to get test results back," said Gov. Gavin Newsom during a press conference Friday.

Newsom says new testing strategies and protocols will be released Saturday.

San Francisco health officials say the city has no backlog but they understand why the problem is an issue elsewhere in the state.

"Everyone is facing across the country a limitation on the essential collection kits that are needed to do testing, so at the same time that we're increasing laboratory capacity those tests in the lab are only as good as our ability to get the specimens from patients and send them to the laboratory," said San Francisco Deputy Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip.

San Francisco city officials are considering new ways of testing like walk up and drive up testing.

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Newsom says the state is looking at a multitude of tests, not just the traditional swab tests.
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