CA partnership with PerkinElmer to allow increase in COVID-19 testing capacity

Coronavirus testing in lab coat, gloves, PCR
Governor Tom Wolf/Creative Commons
The state's partnership with PerkinElmer will allow an increase in COVID-19 testing by 150,000 tests with a waiting time for results between 24 and 48 hours. (Photo by Governor Tom Wolf under CC BY 2.0.)

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The state of California will more than double its coronavirus testing capacity thanks to a partnership with PerkinElmer, a Massachusetts-based diagnostics company.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the partnership Aug. 26. It will allow the state to increase its testing by 150,000 tests with a waiting time for results between 24 and 48 hours, according to the press release. A laboratory is planned to be built in the state with the ability to start processing the tests by Nov. 1 and run at full capacity by March 2021.

“This (partnership) provides us the ability to have much more stability and … the ability to provide more reliability to people that are at risk — essential workers — to address the supply chain constraints that we think will only grow, not diminish into the flu season,” Newsom said during his COVID-19 update Aug. 26.

According to the press release, this partnership aims to “disrupt the testing marketplace” and create a stable supply chain within the state.

Working with PerkinElmer will also decrease test costs to $30.78 per test for 150,000 tests per day, according to the press release. Currently, the cost is between $150-$200 per test.

With an increased capacity to process tests at a lower cost, COVID-19 testing will be more accessible, the press release states.

According to state Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, who serves as chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, Latinx communities have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Expansive testing will allow essential workers in the community to get tested, Gonzalez said in the press release.

“Every Californian, regardless of age, race, income or immigration status, needs rapid and reliable results for testing for COVID-19, if we are to ultimately contain this coronavirus,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, in the press release. “Californians will benefit from us having this increased capacity for COVID-19 testing, at a set and affordable price.”

Contact Julie Madsen at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @Julie_Madsen_.