Bay Area health officers order labs to unveil all COVID-19 test results

Contra Costa County updates guidance on coronavirus outbreak
The California Department of Public Health testing for the coronavirus at its Viral and Rickettsial Disease Laboratory at 850 Marina Bay Parkway in Richmond. (Photo credit: California Department of Public Health)

By Colette Wright 

Seven Bay Area jurisdictions have ordered that labs testing for COVID-19 report not just the positive tests, but all the results as public health officials aim to get a full grasp of the problem.

Currently, labs only report positive results, according to a joint statement from the seven Bay Area jurisdictions. The new order by public health officers in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, along with the city of Berkley, requires reporting on all positive, negative, and inconclusive results.

Getting results from all COVID-19 tests provides an overall better understanding of the rates of infection and will inform how health officials should move forward, according to the order

“This order will ensure public health officials regionally and across the state have access to the information we need to understand, predict, and combat the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County Health Officer. “Commercial and academic laboratories are important partners in providing testing to our community. Receiving this critical information from those labs will help local health departments respond to COVID-19 during this unprecedented time.”