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UC Davis Health Joins State on Testing

By Dateline Staff on April 7, 2020 in University

UC Davis Health Speeds Up COVID-19 Testing

Quick Summary

  • Gov. Newsom announces collaboration with UC Davis and UC San Diego to establish high-throughput testing hubs
  • UC Davis capacity: about 400 tests daily, with near-term plan to expand to some 1,000 tests per day and possibly more
  • UC Health now posting a daily dashboard with testing volume and results from all five UC medical centers

After steadily increasing its own coronavirus testing capacity, UC Davis Health is now collaborating with the state to quickly and significantly boost California’s testing capacity, as announced Saturday (April 4) by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Dean Allison Brashear of the UC Davis School of Medicine said the university “is pleased to partner with Gov. Newsom on this important effort to increase testing capacity for Northern Californians.”

“The experts in our medical school’s Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and other disciplines have worked together to enable UC Davis School of Medicine to contribute meaningfully to the governor’s priorities and the public health needs of the state.”

Newsom made the announcement at a coronavirus briefing where he also said he had established a COVID-19 Testing Task Force. Nam Tran, associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and senior director of clinical pathology in charge of COVID-19 testing at UC Davis Health, represents UC Davis on the task force.

The governor announced testing collaborations with the following:

  • UC Davis Health and UC San Diego Health, to establish high throughput testing hubs.
  • Stanford Medicine, as it launches the first serology test invented in California.
  • Abbott Laboratories, to deploy the first rapid point-of-care test across 13 health care delivery systems and 75 sites.

The governor also announced the launch of a new website, covid19supplies.ca.gov, to get critical medical supplies to the front lines of California’s fight against COVID-19. The website allows individuals and companies to donate, sell or offer to manufacture 13 of the most essential medical supplies, including ventilators, N95 respirators and testing materials.

“These actions marshal the generosity and innovative spirit of Californians to help us achieve two essential goals: getting more lifesaving supplies into our health care system and increasing our testing capacity,” Newsom said.

400 tests a day

UC Davis Health began expanding testing capacity in December and, as of April 6, had the capacity to run about 400 tests daily, with same-day results for UC Davis patients. The Clinical Laboratory plans to expand into a high-volume testing hub shortly, to run some 1,000 tests per day, and possibly more, with the necessary reagents for test processing.

Priority for coronavirus testing is usually given to people who are in close contact with someone with COVID-19, develop symptoms of COVID-19 or reside in a “hot spot” community that has ongoing spread of infection.

People who meet these criteria are encouraged to call their health care providers to discuss their symptoms and exposure. Medical providers are equipped to best determine who needs the test. There is no treatment for COVID-19 and people who are mildly ill may be able to isolate and care for themselves at home.

Read about the technology behind UC Davis Health’s COVID-19 testing program.

Testing across UC

Monday (April 6), UC Health began distributing a dashboard to be updated daily with data on SARS-CoV-2 testing volume, the number of positive tests and age distribution of confirmed cases gathered from its five medical centers across the state.

Led by Atul Butte, chief data scientist and the director of UC Health’s Center for Data-Driven Insights and Innovation, or CDI2, the dashboard unifies testing information on patients at each of UC’s academic health centers — UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC San Diego and UC San Francisco — as well as externally performed tests for UC patients.

The high-level dashboard will help the university, and state and federal officials understand the rate of increase in cases and geographic spread in near real time, to aid in decision making and planning.

Carrie L. Byington, an infectious disease expert who serves as executive vice president of UC Health, said: “Real-time data is critical to the practice of medicine today. By drawing on our deep and knowledgeable data science experts across the university we are able to rapidly build and launch this reporting tool. It is critical information to create transparency on key pandemic-related trends in the state.

“We’re uniquely positioned with our academic health centers located across the state to give public health and elected officials the visibility they need for responding to this pandemic.”

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About the author(s)

Dateline Staff Dave Jones, editor, can be reached at 530-752-6556 or dljones@ucdavis.edu. Cody Kitaura, news and media relations specialist, can be reached at 530-752-1932 or kitaura@ucdavis.edu.

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