Statement: CALPIRG supports Gov. Newsom’s call for more comprehensive COVID-19 testing

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CALPIRG Education Fund

California Gov. Gavin Newsom today laid out key steps necessary for our state to return to something similar to normal life in the future. Step one, he said, toward ending the COVID-19 pandemic is the “ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating and supporting those who are positive or exposed.

CALPIRG made the following statement in response to Gov. Newsom’s call for testing:

“Although testing capacity has improved since the start of the outbreak, tests are still too few and processing times too long to meet step one. As Governor Newsom stated today: ‘before we can contemplate gathering in large groups again, we need to make sure we have widespread testing and serological tests to scale.’ 

“To get the testing capacity needed, CALPIRG is calling on greater leadership from the federal government. Adm. Brett Giroir, the federal testing chief, must use the full power of our national government to help states like California expand and expedite testing.

“Specifically, Adm Giroir should use the Defense Production Act to dramatically increase the quantity of available tests and supplies. Not only that, but the FDA must set a clear standard of quality for tests and use their emergency authority to approve tests. They should work with states and localities to expand the number of private and public labs equipped to conduct tests, and expand drive-through testing and home testing options.

“The federal government can also support states and ensure ongoing testing capacity via comprehensive planning and by making purchasing commitments for adequate testing capacity now and into the future. Our federal leadership must also set up a system to collect high-quality data and identify small pockets of infection before they multiply into larger outbreaks.

“The hope for a return to a more normal life will come to fruition only through collaboration and coordination between federal, state and local authorities. We need a comprehensive testing system in place, and we need it now.”