LOS ANGELES - Gov. Gavin Newsom made a trip to Los Angeles County Friday to visit a new COVID-19 testing laboratory in Valencia.
According to the governor's office, the lab will enable the state to process an additional 150,000 tests per day, increasing testing capacity and reducing turnaround times for results.
At the press conference Friday morning, Newsom said the opening of this lab came a perfect time as we enter flu season.
“We’re entering into the holiday season where more people are likely to mix, we’re entering into the winter months where more people are likely to come back indoors, we’re entering into the flu season which will put compounding and competing challenges into our healthcare delivery system,” Newsom stated.
He says people will be able to get their results in a timely manner. The lab has a turnaround goal of 24 hours, with the longest wait time being 48 hours.
The high-volume lab will also dramatically drive down the costs of testing.
Newsom said the state is currently paying an average of $150 per COVID-
19 test, and as of Thursday, the state has conducted more than 18.4 million
"We can't continue down that path,'' he said. "It makes no economic or fiscal sense. That's why we want to disrupt the entire process and the entire system. And that's exactly what we're doing here in a very audacious and bold way in California. We're going to be able to get these tests down to $30.78 per test. ... That's when we're fully operational at 150,000 tests.''
Although the lab was estimated at $25 million, Newsom said the state actually invested $100 million in upfront costs for the facility, including the building and scientific equipment inside. He said the contract with PerkinElmer includes provisions for reimbursement, with $5.51 of every test conducted set aside to pay for the state's upfront costs.
He said increased testing is critical to stopping the advance of the disease.
City News Service contributed to this report