Coronavirus Testing Remains Limited in Solano County

Posted: July 30, 2020

Getting a COVID-19 test  is a challenge for many in Solano County, with prolonged turn-around times — up to 10 days — and full appointment schedules, which are hampering efforts to control the spread.

“Many of us have personal stories about the lack of available testing here and across the country as testing supply chains are limited and unpredictable,” said Dr. Seth Kaufman, Chief Medical Officer for NorthBay Healthcare. “Testing has not expanded to meet the demand as the number of cases surge in our county and across California. That’s a simple fact.”

He added, “NorthBay Healthcare believes widespread testing is crucial in controlling the pandemic and saving lives. That is why we advocated, developed and now help manage a COVID surveillance program in local senior nursing and living facilities.”

Ramping up testing capacity began in February when NorthBay VacaValley Hospital received a patient who was the first case of community transmission in Solano County.

“We are working tirelessly with our vendors, the county and the state to secure supplies to bring new testing options to all who want to be tested,” Dr. Kaufman explained "But it’s been an uphill battle to bring new testing options and secure adequate supplies for our community.”

For NorthBay Healthcare, there exists a variety of testing platforms:

  • Testing is available at two NorthBay Urgent Care sites (Vacaville and Fairfield) and in the two hospitals’ Emergency Departments for those with symptoms, especially if they are at high risk for severe illness or are living in a high-risk setting, such as a nursing facility;
  • To protect hospital patients and health care providers, every patient admitted is tested; and
  • All patients who are scheduled to undergo any procedure or surgery are tested.

There is some capacity in the hospital lab to analyze tests, but it is currently consumed by patients awaiting admission and those who will undergo urgent procedures.

In terms of getting results, NorthBay Healthcare uses a commercial lab, Quest, and also delivers swabs to a county facility. “Those facilities are inundated and the backlog is significant,” Dr. Kaufman said. “We understand the public’s annoyance and we sympathize.”

Until the supply improves, and the demand lessens, the long waiting time and supply shortages will probably continue, he said.

For more information about testing and availability, go HERE.


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