The county’s coronavirus testing system is struggling to keep up with demand as fewer locals are able to receive examinations and waits for appointments are growing longer, said County Manager Mike Callagy.
Verily, the county’s testing partner, regularly tested as many as 1,000 locals on a daily basis last month but those numbers have dipped in the past week to between 300 and 400 tests per day.
Callagy said during his press conference Wednesday, July 8, that recently a backlog in testing and a shortage of available kits required a stepping back of the COVID-19 examination system.
Recognizing that the testing offered through Project Baseline may be increasingly difficult to receive, Callagy urged residents to either remain patient with the county’s system or seek tests from private providers.
To that end, as recently as late last week there were no appointments in San Mateo County immediately available through Verily, though the system was able to schedule examinations in neighboring Santa Clara County.
“Hang in there,” said Callagy to those looking for appointments locally, while hoping the system will soon again be able to meet the demand.
There are 3,743 confirmed COVID-19 cases in San Mateo County, with 111 deaths linked to the disease. There are 55 hospitalized with the disease, with 15 patients in intensive care units. The county has performed 75,510 tests and the positivity rate lingers at about 5%.
Regarding hospitalizations, Callagy said a segment of that population is comprised of patients from San Quentin State Prison, where the virus has spread quickly.
While proud of the care inmates are receiving locally, Callagy said officials are working to assure the uptick of patients does not count against the county’s total number of hospitalizations. The metric is one considered by state officials when determining whether counties are able to continue advancing through the reopening process.
Generally speaking, Callagy said officials do not consider hospital capacity a huge constraint when examining the region’s ability to accommodate any potential surge of patients.
The area has recently seen some uptick in cases, specifically among the younger demographic, said County Health Deputy Chief Srija Srinivasan.
“We need to stay vigilant,” said Srinivasan, encouraging locals to observe social distancing standards, wear face coverings and avoid large gatherings as much as possible.
For his part, Callagy agreed while suggesting he has seen many adhere to public health standards to a reasonable degree through reopening.
“The folks in the county have been cooperating,” he said.
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