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Coronavirus at the Capitol: Senate Delay and Test Shortage

You are currently viewing Coronavirus at the Capitol: Senate Delay and Test Shortage
Photo by Ben Franske
  • Post category:News

As coronavirus cases increase, the California Senate has decided to postpone work. This news follows six people working in the state Assembly testing positive. After already missing two months of work in the beginning of the pandemic, lawmakers had to rush to pass a dialed-down budget. Now, hundreds of bills will have to wait for approval. And many of these bills deal with housing and healthcare.

As it stands, lawmakers still hope to finish their work by August 31. The Secretary of the Senate, Erika Contreras, confirmed they will not be in session in the upcoming week. “We will continue to monitor the public health situation. I will notify you as soon as it is determined an appropriate time to return to session.”

Unfortunately, the surge in positive results comes in the middle of a test shortage. On Monday, Sacramento County health officials announced that they will be closing down five testing sites. A lack of materials has created some concern over being able to keep up with upwards trends in cases.

Coronavirus Testing Sites Shut Down

Communities reporting to the following sites will have to seek testing elsewhere:

  • South Sacramento Christian Center
  • La Familia Counseling Center
  • Robertson Community Center
  • Natomas Unified School District
  • Tetteh Pediatric Health (South Land Park)

The five closing centers are in lower-income neighborhoods. In several of these, the virus has begun to spread. Without testing sites, exposure risk can only climb. Luckily, at least two sites remain open. St. Paul’s Missionary Baptist Church in Oak Park has not yet closed. The Verily site at Cal Expo is also open. Verily does not require patients to have symptoms. They will test anyone for free. But these resources may not be available for much longer.

Already, UC Davis had to step in and help Sacramento when the city reported a lack of federally supplied test materials. The school’s aid allowed Sacramento to increase testing. But Sacramento isn’t the only city in need of help. As states reopened, testing surged. And the supply could not meet the demand. Where’s the help the city needs? Davis can only do so much.

The past few weeks have been damaging. Testing sites ran short on materials. Labs became backed up. Patients received delayed results. All the while, hospitals continued to admit COVID-19 patients. So perhaps it isn’t all that surprising that state Senate members are reluctant to return to work.

If lawmakers wish to stay home, that’s understandable. But they need to be figuring out a solution all the same. Not everyone else has the luxury of such limited exposure to the coronavirus.

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