Governor Gavin Newsom delivered an update at noon Monday on the state of California's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
California has hit another grim coronavirus milestone. Data from Johns Hopkins University on Monday showed the nation's most populous state has recorded more than 30,000 deaths since the pandemic started nearly a year ago.
Deaths have exploded since a COVID-19 surge began in October. It took the state six months to record its first 10,000 deaths. But in barely a month the total rose from 20,000 to 30,000.
Over the weekend, the state reported a two-day record of 1,163 deaths. Hospitalizations also have exploded and many hospitals are stretched to the limit. Health officials have warned the worst is yet to come later this month.
Curative COVID-19 tests in question
Los Angeles County will stop using Curative COVID-19 tests at pop-up testing sites after a U.S. Food and Drug Administration alert to patients and health care providers that the test could produce false negatives. The county Department of Health Services says the change to Fulgent Genetics tests will take place this week.
The department says Curative tests used at the pop-up sites between Dec. 13 and Jan. 2 made up about 10% of all COVID-19 tests administered at county-supported test sites during that same time frame.
Riverside County continues to use Curative tests at Coachella Valley testing sites despite the FDA warning of potentially inaccurate results from the self-administered tests
The Food and Drug Administration wrote last week that Curative's tests can give "false results, particularly false-negative results" if not performed properly.
"There are a number of people who are not as inclined to get an invasive swab at the back of their nose or back of their throat," said county spokeswoman Brooke Federico.
The county hopes that with a more comfortable test, more people will get tested. It's also reportedly shortened the time it takes for labs to return results.
The switch comes at the cost, though, of accuracy.
The county said the previously offered nasal and throat swabs were 98 percent accurate. Curatives self-administered swabs are 90 percent accurate.
In a statement to News Channel 3, Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser wrote in part: "Positive test results from PCR tests, including Curative’s self-administered test, are almost always correct. Self-administered tests, regardless of the vendor, have more potential to create false negative results compared to tests administered by a health professional."
The FDA's notice urged health care providers to consider having patients "re-tested" if an inaccurate result from a Curative tests is suspected.
"If somebody is sick, experiencing symptoms, and they had a negative result they may want to consider getting another test," Federico said.
Dr. Kaiser's full statement reads:
"Positive test results from PCR tests, including Curative’s self-administered test, are almost always correct. Self-administered tests, regardless of the vendor, have more potential to create false negative results compared to tests administered by a health professional. This is because sometimes people don’t follow the instructions precisely, even though they intend to do so. If there isn’t enough of viral material in the sample for any reason, it won’t be positive. Staff members are available to explain the process to ensure residents perform the self-administered test correctly.
It’s important to remember that you can be negative one day and positive the next, even with the gold standard PCR swab test and even if the test is done according to instructions.
I don’t recommend everyone who did a Curative test and tested negative be immediately retested. If someone close to you is positive and you aren’t, or you start getting sick but you recently tested negative, I would strongly advise you consider getting tested again. Please continue to observe all the precautions with good hygiene, social distancing and facial coverings, and stay home if you’re sick."Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County Department of Health
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