Kits to help stop the spread of the coronavirus virus are scarce and health workers in California report widespread failures in the federal government’s response to the outbreak.
California is one of the most affected regions in the country with 60 cases, but the total ability to administer screening tests for covid-19 has been limited to only 7,400 over the weekend, according to the California Department of Public Health.
According to public health experts, the inability to perform a comprehensive and rapid test for coronavirus has impeded the country’s ability to combat its spread.RELATED
“So far we do not have kits to do the tests and we have not needed them because no patient has asked to undergo an exam,” Irma Solis, a laboratory supervisor at a medical clinic in the city of Montebello, to the east, told Univision Noticias. of the Angels.
“The two laboratories where we sent our samples have said that until Monday they will indicate the codes they will use to do the virus test,” he added.
The shortage of test kits and the lack of communication with hospital administrations is creating chaos for doctors, nurses and health workers, since their classification efforts are complicated by testing the restrictions for testing.
“Last night I had a patient with clear symptoms of coronavirus, but the Health Department did not think he should be tested,” said a doctor in the emergency room in Downey who spoke on condition of anonymity. “I went from that patient to the next room, where I had an 80-year-old diabetic, immunocompromised patient. If I’m taking coronavirus there, it’s mild for me, but it’s deadly for her. ”
Although there are only about nine known cases of community spread of the virus in California, the number of people who have been exposed to it seems to be growing daily.
Some 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 suffering severe outbreaks or epidemics. Then, there are others who may have been exposed within the community and are now worried about infecting their families.
“My daughter-in-law Sophie is in quarantine at her home in Santa Maria, California (in Santa Barbara County); my son Roy and herself decided to do it for their own safety, ”said Socorro Batanero. His daughter-in-law Sophie arrived on Sunday from Shanghai, China.
“They have an extra bedroom on the ground floor of their house, and my son takes the food and leaves it at the door,” he added. “Sophie doesn’t leave the room at all, but we don’t really feel any fear of contagion.”
Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted some guidelines on Wednesday so that anyone with symptoms can be examined by their doctor, local officials cannot take advantage of more flexible restrictions due to the lack of test equipment.
Subsequently, public health officials in Los Angeles said they will only assess people with severe symptoms or with a milder illness and a history of travel to countries where the outbreak has most developed, such as Iran, Italy, South Korea or China .
Meanwhile, UC Davis Medical Center officials said on their Twitter account that “we are all happy. 89 employees who were placed under home isolation precautions due to exposure # covid-19 are doing well and will return to work. All results were negative for the virus. We deeply appreciate your dedication and commitment to patient care. ”
“To be clear, nobody on the UCLA campus has tested positive for covid-19,” said the school official. “At this time, there have been no recommendations from LACDPH to suspend campus operations, including the modification of class schedules.”
Screening tests at no cost to the patient
Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency this week due to the outbreak and, through the Department of Managed Health Care, directed all commercial and Medi-Cal health plans regulated by that agency to immediately reduce the cost-sharing to zero for all screening tests and medically necessary tests for covid-19.
The action includes waiving cost sharing for the emergency room, urgent care or visits to the health provider’s office when the purpose of the visit is to be examined and tested for covid-19. The test will be based on medical necessity and the clinical determination will be made on a case-by-case basis by medical professionals.
“Californians should not fear for a large medical bill just because they were tested for covid-19,” Governor Newsom said. “This action means that Californians who meet the test requirements can receive the test at no cost.”
However, Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, warned that the action does not mean that all California residents should seek to get tested, but only those who have the symptoms, which may have had contact with a person infected with covic-19 or recently traveled to countries with apparent community spread.
A similar address was issued by the California Department of Insurance to provide medically necessary free tests for 2 million Californians. Both combined announcements ensure that 24 million more Californians will be eligible to receive tests, in case their health care provider considers it medically necessary.
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