Chaos at California hospitals due to shortage of coronavirus tests

“Last night I had a patient with clear coronavirus symptoms, but the health department didn’t think he should be tested,” said an emergency room doctor in Downey who spoke on condition of anonymity. “I went from that patient into the next room, where I had an 80-year-old, immune-compromised, diabetic patient. If I’m taking coronavirus in there, it’s mild for me, but it’s deadly for her.”

California has only tested 516 people for COVID-19 to date, far below what is probably needed in a state where Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency this week due to the outbreak. Though there are no known instances of community spread of the virus in California, the number of people who have been exposed to the virus appears to be growing daily.

About 1,250 Californians who were possibly exposed to COVID-19 on a cruise ship need to be tested for the virus. There are more than 9,000 people in California who have recently returned from countries experiencing severe outbreaks. Then there are others who may have been exposed within the community, and are now worried about infecting their families.