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Across California's Counties All COVID-19 Testing Is Not Created Equal

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A mix of commercial and public labs are responsible for coronavirus testing in California, and supply chain limitations have plagued them all. But those with deeper pockets and stronger commercial relationships have been out-competing counties and public labs with limited resources.

County to county, city to city — even hospital to hospital within a city — testing capacity varies widely, as does the definition of who qualifies for testing.

Conversations with dozens of local health officials, hospital systems, scientists and elected officials reveal just how complicated a task it will be to straighten it all out.

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Meanwhile, counties with plenty of tests face a different dilemma: not enough test takers.

Los Angeles is testing roughly 10,000 people daily, but says it needs to double that to lift the shelter-in-place orders. Its focus in coming weeks is to increase testing among the uninsured and those in at-risk living environments such as homeless encampments and skilled nursing facilities.


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