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The key to relaxing social distancing rules is testing. The question is, when will Fresno County hit the benchmark?

Dr. Rais Vohra, interim Fresno County health officer, says, “We’re doing between 500 to 700 hundred tests a day in the county.”

The good news? We may be doing a lot more testing than that. It’s just not getting reported in one bulk number. Yet.

Hospitals Ramping Up COVID-19 Testing

Several local hospitals including Community Medical, Saint Agnes, and Kaiser Permanente have recently started doing their own testing.

So far, those numbers are not all included in the daily updates presented by the Fresno County Health Department. The hospitals aren’t doing anything wrong. The process is just so new, the workflow to compile a comprehensive accounting of the tests isn’t there.

But Vohra says he is working to change that.

“I would be happy with just a weekly number, and I’ve shared that with my hospital partners, and with my medical providers, every week I just want to know,” Vohra said Thursday.

“I would be happy with just a weekly number.”—Dr. Rais Vohra, interim Fresno County health officer

Last month, Dr. Vohra told GV Wire he’d feel much more comfortable with relaxing shelter-in-place orders if the county got close to 1,000 tests a day.

Hospital Responses

GV Wire reached out to the hospitals and received several responses.

Hap Morrissey, Director of Laboratory Services for CRMC says, “Given limited access to reagents and swabs, our hospitals test about 100 patients per day through our own labs at Community Medical Centers. We are working diligently with manufacturers and our state and local leaders to expand our capabilities. We work in coordination with Fresno County Department of Public Health for testing information.”

In a statement, Kaiser Permanente says, “Our testing data is sent to the state and federal governments in line with their processes. Local counties are able to reach that accessible data through the state.”

Saint Agnes doesn’t see a reason why it couldn’t give those numbers to the county. The hospital is equipped with Cepheid’s GeneXpert testing system.

Corporate communications director Kelley Sanchez told GV Wire a few weeks ago that with these new tests, “Results should be turned around within an hour.”

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